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  • Topic: Jan Švankmajer, Victorian era, Jabberwocky
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  • Published : March 14, 2007
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Director Study Essay

How has the director presented relevant issue/messages to his audience? What influences might have inspired him/her?

Chosen Film: Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky, directed and created by Jan Svankmajer in 1971, is a psychoanalytical, yet visually enriched interpretation of childhood. The director has presented relevant issues and messages such as the surrealism genre, childhood, context in society and adulthood. Various devices such as the close up and animation are used in order to achieve this. Influences such as the context and culture of the film inspire Svankmajer to employ wonderful techniques to convey messages to the audience.

At the beginning of Jabberwocky, Svankmajer uses a powerful device: a full recital of the Jabberwocky poem from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. He uses this poem, which mainly consists of nonsense words, to accompany the random and bizarre animation such as a wardrobe running in the forest. This technique provides emphasis of the surrealist genre to the viewers. Svankmajer's inclusion of the poem tells the audience that his dream was an extension of childhood and concerned his alter ego, which was about looking back at his childhood.

At the very beginning of the film, the director uses rapid cuts showing a child being smacked on the bottom and uses slapping sound effects. Thus, the theme of a cruel and harsh childhood is established.

Another issue Svankmajer addresses to his viewers is the reinvention or reinvoking of the world of childhood, which is his formative influence. Svankmajer also uses animation and personification of old children's toys and tangible qualities of his imaginations, such as the sailor suit dancing to show the director's unique memories of his childhood. Svankmajer's childhood is not only about playing and going to school, it also focuses on non-living objects having a life on their own.

Furthermore, symbolism and...
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