Jan Švankmajer II

film 2 of 4

Down to the Cellar

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 10, 2015

There’s a primal fear! A child sent down to a dark place on an errand in which she can’t have the least interest. This is very rich, because two contradictory hypotheses are posited and proven. The first is that the usefulness or necessity of adult-imposed chores doesn’t even register when compared with the anxiety they create in children. The other, more fairy-tale like, is that children are somehow charmed, and that they successfully make their way through the dark enchantments that envelop them. As with fairy tales, or psychoanalytic dream work, there are some very clear parallels, some very straightforward applications to all this. You could profitably articulate them, or you could just let the mystery be. This is a tremendously rich oeuvre. Seeing this, it seems suddenly obvious that Svankmajer would proceed to meditate on Alice in Wonderland.