Saturday, 3 June 2017

Something of Alice

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Jonathan Miller's version of Alice in Wonderland may be difficult to top, but I recently watched Czech filmaker Jan Švankmajer's Alice (Something of Alice in the Czech) (1988) and would really recommend it. It's a subversive and surreal take on the story which only loosely follows the book rather than being a strict adaptation. That said, the surreal and creepy, though also playful nature of the film seems close to the book in spirit. As the essay in the DVD package says - Švankmajer really captures the idea of adolescence as a time of trauma in this hallucinatory film.

Alice is played by a real girl in the film most of the time, except when she shrinks into a Vicorian bisque doll. The white rabbit is a taxidermied animal come to life in stop motion animation - complete with leaking sawdust stuffing. There is also a creepy selection of animals created from skeletons, a pack of animated cards and some very uncanny sock puppets.The narrator says "it's a story for children, maybe" at the beginning and this is quite correct. 

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