Moznosti Dialogu (1982)

Sub-Genres - Surrealist Film  |   Run Time - 12 min.  |   Countries - Czechoslovakia  |  
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Jan Svankmajer's international reputation was made when widespread acclaim greeted Moznosti Dialogu (interpreted variously as "Dimensions of Dialogue" or "Principles of Dialogue"). This short, three-part film is a stunningly brutal yet fascinating (and often quite amusing) meditation on human interactions as embodied by non-human elements fashioned into humanoid form. This is essential to the film's premise: that mankind's surface humanity masks an unfortunate inhumanity. In the first section -- the three heads made of (respectively) vegetables, kitchen utensils, and writing implements that meet and consume each other endlessly, until the end product is a mishmash -- is an indictment of humanity's inability to tolerate differences (a view quite understandable to an artist working under a repressive Communist regime). The lovers in the second section experience a severe breakdown in communication, resulting in their utter destruction, implying that even the most intimate of human exchanges is ultimately futile. And the bizarre symbiotic clay heads in the final sequence can exist only so long as they stay in sync with each other; when one of them steps even slightly out of line, it causes them both to ultimately self-destruct. Svankmajer's pessimistic view will not be to all tastes, but his presentation of this view is brilliantly done, with an ingenious use of Giuseppe Arcimboldo-inspired creations and mesmerizing stop-motion animation.