Jan Švankmajer

film 4 of 6

The Flat

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 10, 2015

Quite astounding; a real milestone. An utterly recognizable face, surrounded by utterly everyday objects, all made absolutely unsettling by Svankmajer’s stop-motion, juxtapositional derring-do. It’s obviously surreal—remove the conventions of function and association and the whole world becomes transformed. Since this is Eastern Europe, the transformations make for anxiety. Also, since this is Eastern Europe, they make for a particularly droll kind of comedy too. In the margins we also might notice how beautiful these objects are, and how beautifully photographed. We have this minor league/big time analogy in our brains, and who would complain that after working for Hal Roach Leo McCary went on to make those feature films. But it’s so important to affirm that, with an artist or a sensibility like this, there’s no need to graduate to anything bigger. This half comic, half horrifying thing is already as big as it can get.