Movie Review: Alice

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The origin of surrealist cinema dates back to the 1920s in Paris. Surrealist cinema is described as not following the formula of a classic narrative film, and often uses shocking images. It was found in between both World Wars, which was a dark time for many nations. People questioned the conventional understanding of reality, because reality seemed to be in total chaos. Years later the Cold War would occur and Czechoslovakia would become a communist nation. Filmmaker Jan Svankmajer from Prague made his first feature length film “Alice” (1988) which spawned from a time period that influenced surrealist films. Svankmajer's rooting in surrealist film influenced his movie “Alice” an adaptation of the classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, by changing the story into a more darker and nonsensical tone then the original version. The story of “Alice’s Adventures on Wonderland” has been adapted many times over the course of generations since Lewis Carroll printed it in 1865. The original book differs from Jan Svankmajer version greatly because it was made before surrealism existed. The characters in Carroll’s book seem to be more animalistic, while Svankmajer’s are puppets of animals. Svankmajer’s puppets don’t even attempt to seem like animals, for an example the March Hair in his version has a wind-up mechanism on its back. The use of puppets makes sense for Svankmajer because of his background in puppetry, but using it as a replacement for animals is gives the film a touch of surrealism. Surrealist films often try to give objects new life outside the commonly known context for them. A puppet coming to life without a human being controlling them is something that’s not seen in most mainstream movies. When labeled as just an animator, Svankmajer himself says that he is not only that, because he likes all aspects of film, especially bringing objects life. A difference between the two is that Carroll emphasizes Alice falling into wonderland, passing...
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