The latest provocation from surrealist master Jan Svankmajer is loosely based on two short stories by Edgar Allen Poe and inspired by the works of the Marquis de Sade. In nineteenth-century France (albeit one full of deliberate anachronisms) a young man, Jean Berlot, is plagued by nightmares in which he is dragged off to a madhouse. On the journey back from his mother’s funeral he is invited by a Marquis to spend the night in his castle. After witnessing a blasphemous orgy and a ‘therapeutic’ funeral, Berlot tries to flee but the Marquis insists on helping him conquer his fears and takes his guest to a nearby lunatic asylum where the patients have complete freedom and the staff is locked up behind bars. Described by Svankmajer as a “philosophical horror film,” Lunacy combines live action and stop-motion, sex and violence, grand guignol terror and gallows humor, and a lot of animated meat.
“Svankmajer’s fifth and most accessible feature to date... Lunacy is exactly what it’s called, raucously inventive and completely out of its mind.”
Directed by Jan Svankmajer.
2006, Czech Republic/Slovakia • 119 mins. • 35mm
Co-sponsored by and shown in conjunction with the UC Irvine
Visual Studies Graduate Student Association Conference,
Decadence: Excess, Erosion, And Transgression,