The Czech surrealist filmmaker, Jan Švankmajer, has a preoccupation with morphing, distorted, incoherent bodies. In his stop motion films, he frequently works with everyday things like toys and clothes, imbuing them with lives that defy how we normally make sense of the world.
This video essay looks at the dolls in his 1971 film, Jabberwocky (Žvahlav aneb šatičky slaměného Huberta), an adaptation of a Lewis Carroll poem. In Jabberwocky, Švankmajer embraces the nonsense of his source material in a way that only a stop motion filmmaker can.
The IU Cinema previously featured a retrospective in 2012 of Jan Švankmajer’s films: Impossibility Made Real. Švankmajer is currently working on what he is calling his final feature film – Insects – an adaptation of a play by Karel and Josef Čapek.
Laura Ivins loves stop motion, home movies, imperfect films, nature hikes, and Stephen Crane’s poetry. She has a PhD from Indiana University and an MFA from Boston University. In addition to watching and writing about movies, sometimes she also makes them.