Feb 22, 2008


AKA Sílení

Lunacy is a film, like no others, that expresses what the entire film is about, only in it's title. Lunacy is the newest addition to the extensive filmography of surrealist Czech Jan Svankmajer. He has spawned award winning artists to have imitated his stop-motion style such as the Brothers Quay. Lunacy is a film that bares no short-comings and is one of his best works.

What is madness? What is insanity? The director takes these unknown depths of the mind and wipes them on the screen. When you first meet Jean Berlot, he is having a horrible nightmare about two pinheads trying to submiss him and straitjacket him. He wakes up violently, causing fires in the hotel where he sleeps. A marquis finds him in his shocked state and offers him a ride. What will become of him as he extends into blasphemy, asylums, and bizarre rituals?

The story is a welding of stories from Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis De Sade. When you take the utmost horrific tales only to blend them with the bizzaro perversion, Lunacy can be the only outcome. Jan Svankmajer continues to defy all conventions by opening the film with his discussing how art is dead. To me, this might be the most important facet of this film. To create a piece as this, and denounce it as art is a bold move. The settings that he create are of the most peculiar. For instance, in one scene as our leads are riding in a carriage, we see a highway in the background, populated by automobiles and life.

Jan Triska as the Marquis might be the physical embodiment of insanity. His lazy-eye and never ending cackle might add to this, but it is ultimately his discussions. He makes several key notes in the film, disproving God and all origins of religion. After hammering hundreds of nails into a lifesize "Jesus-on-a-cross", of course. Opposite of him is Pavel Liska, who reeks with embarassment and awkward feelings. He is truly the hero, but a pitiful one at that.

No one could ever pull off a meat puppet show besides Svankmajer

Each piece of the film is seperated by a brilliant puzzle piece of a quest involving eyes and a cows tongue. The delirious music in the background only furthers you feeling unnerved. Lunacy is a brilliant and different film for Svankmajer to create. It can seen as a social commentary towards the punishment on the insane. Should the insane lead the insane, or should we resort to punishments and heavy medication? Who is really mad and who is sane? What is sanity?


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