07/28/2015  
Madama Bovary on DVD & Blu-ray Aug 4Rookie Blue: Season Five, Volume One on DVD Aug 18The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 28The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray & DVD Aug. 18What We Do in the Shadows on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 21Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests on DVD Jun 30

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Ted Cruz backs out of scheduled 'Daily Show' appearance...
'Ant-Man' inches past 'Pixels' to take No. 1 spot at bo...
Jake Gyllenhaal's Evolution of Hotness, From Bubble Boy...
Judd Apatow: Bill Cosby "One of the Most Awful People t...
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert Split 10 Years After ...
Madama Bovary on DVD & Blu-ray Aug 4...
Rookie Blue: Season Five, Volume One on DVD Aug 18...
Marvel reverses scale, elevates comedy with compact her...
The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein on Blu-ray & DVD Jul 2...
California water district OKs Tom Selleck's settlement ...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Image Entertainment presents
The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer: Volume 2 (1982-1992)



Review By: Dan Lopez  
Published: July 24, 2003

Director: Jan Svankmajer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some disturbing imagery, sexual themes, mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:11m:34s
Release Date: April 30, 2003
UPC: 014381012323
Genre: special interest


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+C+B- B-

DVD Review

Volume 2 of the Collected Shorts discs brings us to the core of Svankmajer's work from 1982 to 1992, during which he explored new realms of experimentation and then found himself moving into feature film almost exclusively. The disc contains:

Dimensions of Dialogue
A series of examinations on the subject of communication, including one of Svankmajer's most memorable claymation works, a scene in which two realistic, life-sized characters attempt to get along, but don't.

Down To The Cellar
Astonishingly brilliant live-action short in which Svankmajer takes a simple childhood fear (going into a creepy, dark basement) and turns it into a virtual gauntlet of surreal terrors for a young girl sent to fetch some potatoes.

The Pendulum, The Pit, and Hope
A live-action, first-person-perspective interpretation of the Edgar Allan Poe story The Pit and the Pendulum, in which a man condemned by the Spanish Inquisition attempts to escape his captors and a dungeon of tortures. Absolutely amazing in it's technique and skill. This should be required viewing in all literary courses that teach Poe.

Meat Love
One of Svankmajer's two shorts done for MTV's "Art Break" series. Two steaks enjoy a brief romance before being cooked for dinner.

Flora
The other "Art Break" piece, weighing in at a mere 20 seconds, but still quite memorable nonetheless.

The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia
After years of suffering under Communism in Czechoslovakia, Svankmajer (once banned from filmmaking) made a brilliant political short that serves as his commentary on events in Communist Russia. It helps if you're a little familiar with the history of Russia and its influence on the Eastern Bloc.

Food
A hilarious and darkly comic short in which the subjects of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are approached with typical Svankmajer sneakiness. The most memorable portion revolves around a pair of mismatched diners who, when unable to receive good service, begin to eat their table instead.

While Svankmajer's brief introduction to a more mainstream audience with his Art Break films made his name a bit more recognizable, his work here still retains all of the qualities that made his earlier films so enjoyable. While the strong political message of The Death of Stalinism... interrupts the flow of his usual realm of surreal fantasy, his overall message still comes across. Despite his obvious sense of humor, there is still a depth of seriousness that's hard to avoid, perhaps best shown in Pit, Pendulum..., which is absolutely chilling. Together with the first volume, this set of film shorts showcases the bulk of what Jan Svankmajer's career has been all about. It, like all his work, must be seen to be truly appreciated.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: In general, there are no major issues with the image quality. While speckles and some negative damage can be seen in the shorts, it is generally a fleeting effect and has no direct bearing on the transfer itself. The one short, however, that does suffer a bit from source-related problems is Down Into the Cellar which has very obvious horizontal scanlines throughout. Perhaps the result of a poor video source, the horizontal lines are very noticeable in some scenes, yet not really much of an issue in others. It doesn't destroy the short, but it is there and should be pointed out.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoCzechoslovakianyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is 2-channel mono and fits perfectly with what needs to be done with the audio here. As there is little to no dialogue, that isn't an issue. The menagerie of sound effects and bizarre dubbing that makes up the audio world of these shorts is extremely well handled and definitely crisp and clean. A few pops and crackles can be heard in the older films, but it's nothing that takes away from the enjoyment. Perhaps the best audio track is that of The Pendulum, The Pit, and Hope, a pitch-perfect ambient soundtrack that completely immerses you in a dank, mysterious dungeon. Pretty creepy stuff.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 7 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Jan Svankmajer art gallery
  2. Poems by Jan Svankmajer
Extras Review: The main supplement on the disc is a 30-minute BBC feature entitled The Animator of Prague, which serves as an overview and biography of Jan Svankmajer. It includes interview audio and footage with Svankmajer, shot inside his own studio during the production of The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia. It's a good documentary with no narration or interjection from commentators, but like many BBC documentaries, it's a bit heavy handed with the inserted symbolism. For example, during the examination of a sequence from Death of Stalinism, it intercuts with footage of pigs being slaughtered for market. Not really the message link I think Svankmajer was looking for.

There's a gallery of Svankmajer's artwork, including his fascinating cabinet installations (many of which are dioramas of fictional animals created by putting together various bones). Most of the artwork was featured on the first volume of the Svankmajer shorts. The keepcase booklet contains some poems by Svankmajer, and on the disc is a poem "presented" in a very theatrical manner with sound effects and music.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

I don't think that Jan Svankmajer's shorts should have been separated onto two discs, but since they were, there's no reason not to pick up both volumes of Collected Shorts. One disc cannot exist without the other, as all of his work needs to truly be experienced in a linked form. Hypnotic, engaging, and sometimes just plain weird fun, his experiments with camera, clay, and puppets are the stuff of dreams (or nightmares). Here is a filmmaker who, though an outright celebrity in his homeland, is barely mentioned in the annals of Western film. Once you've seen his work, you can see just how far his influence has spread.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, late night, jon stewart, ted cruz, david mccullough, movie, ant-man, disney, marvel, pixels, adam sandler, jurassic, inside out, minions, trainwreck, southpaw, jake gyllenhaal, october sky, donnie darko, bubbly boy, brokeback mountain, prisoners, celebrity, jeff apatow, cnn, new day, bill cosby, music, blake shelton miranda lambert, you are the reason god make oklahoma, gunpowder and lead, drama, payton reed, paul rudd, michael douglas, corey stoll, evangeline lily, horror, tom selleck, calleguas municipal water district, movies, star wars, harrison ford, dead pool, ryan reynolds, muppets, batman v superman, ben affleck, westworld, hbo, j.j. abrams, the gallows, cassidy gifford, kathie lee gifford, frank gifford, amy schumer, judd apatow, bill hader, comedy, inside amy schumer, ariana grande, dough-nut licking video, wolfee donuts, netflix, wet hot american summer: first day of camp, michael showalter, david wain, elizabeth banks, michael ian black, bradley cooper, judah friedlander, janeane garofalo, joe lo truglio, ken marino, christopher meloni, marguerite moreau, zak orth, amy poehler, david hyde pierce, molly shannon, sci-fy, star trek, justin lin, star trek beyond, zoe soldana, chris pine, donald trump, republican presidential candidate, nbc, televisa, ora tv, lupita jones, carlos slim, larry king, sex-assault lawsuit, associated press, george m. gowen iii, disneyland, disney california adventure, selfie sticks banned, california screaming, coachella, lollapalooza, jimmy fallon, tonight show, hand injury, x files, david duchovny, gillian anderson, fox, january 24, 2016, apple music, allen kovac, motley crue, taylor swift, elvis costello, calvin harris, animation, kids, the tonight show, colin ferrell, vince vaughn, true detective, nbc nightly news, brian williams, anchor, matt lauer, today, msnbc, lester holt, mark feldstein, pixar, mindy-disgust, amy poehler-joy, phyllis smith-sadness, fear-bill hader, anger-lewis black., nbc evening news, robert barnett

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store