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International premiere Švankmajer’s LUNACY at Rotterdam Film Festival 2006

International premiere Švankmajer’s LUNACY at Rotterdam Film Festival 2006

- International premiere Švankmajer’s LUNACY at Rotterdam Film Festival 2006
- Švankmajer’s film project SURVIVING LIFE selected for CineMart

The 35th International Film Festival Rotterdam will present the international premiere of Jan Švankmajer’s new feature length film ŠÍLENÍ (LUNACY). The film is an allegory on the modern world, inspired by motifs from Edgar Allan Poe and Marquis de Sade. As a tribute to the legendary visual artist, writer and filmmaker connected with the Czech Surrealist Group, the Rotterdam film festival will publish Švankmajer’s script of LUNACY. Meanwhile Švankmajer’s new film project, SURVIVING LIFE, has been selected for CineMart, Rotterdam’s co-production market.

LUNACY is a live action feature film with a wonderful cast of famous Czech actors like Jan Tríska, Ana Geislerová, Pavel Liška and Jaroslav Dušek. Described by Švankmajer as ’a philosophical horror movie’ about freedom, repression and manipulation, the film is situated in 19th century France. Švankmajer has added deliberate anachronisms to underline the film’s allegorical meaning. Some animation is used for surrealistic scenes.

Young Jean Berlot (Pavel Liška) is haunted by nightmares in which he is taken to a lunatic asylum. When returning from his mother’s burial, he is invited by a marquis (Jan Tríska) to stay the night in his castle. There, Berlot is witness to a blasphemous orgy and a ‘therapeutic’ burial. The marquis convinces him to conquer his fears, and takes his guest to an asylum where the patients are enjoying complete freedom while the staff has been locked away.

LUNACY was, as SURVIVING LIFE will be, produced by Athanor; LUNACY, selected for CineMart 2001, is a co-production with Barrandov Studio, C-GA Film and Czech Television.

On the occasion of the international premiere of LUNACY, the festival devotes this year’s Rotterdam Film Course, a film workshop for college and university students in 14 Dutch cities, to (post)surrealist cinema. Švankmajer’s film CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE (1996) is included in the film course.