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On 4th September 2014, the Czech maestro of animation Jan Švankmajer is eighty years old, a human and symbolic birthday which traces the artistic path of one of the most revolutionary figures in contemporary cinema and art. Pure enjoyment for the fantasy and imagination, the theatre, literature and the visual arts all converge in his films.
Švankmajer can be considered the last heir of surrealism, but also one of the most important representatives of the pictorial neo-avant-gardes of informal and objectual art. The creator of fantastic universes where Carroll, Poe, Kafka and Buñuel meet, the main source of inspiration for generations of authors such as Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, the Czech maestro has succeeded, as never before in the history of the cinema, in merging the horrific element of animation with its natural fairy tale tradition. Leaving free space to the imagination – after all, in continuation with the pictorial suggestions of Bosch and Arcimboldo – and looking at the past of animated film (the silent shorts by Segundo De Chomon and Wlasislaw Starevicz) Švankmajer embodies the essence of a real demiurge filmmaker, capable of taking the audience into totally imaginary universes, often without any reference to reality.