Alice (1988 film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
surreal film

Alice (Czech: Něco z Alenky) is a 1988 Czech surreal fantasy adventure film by Jan Švankmajer. It retells Lewis Carroll's first 'Alice' book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in Svankmajer's unique style. The film combines live action with stop motion animation. Alice is played by Kristýna Kohoutová, and the English dubbed version features the voice of Camilla Power.

While the novel is predominantly light-hearted and whimsical, Alice is bleaker in its exploration of Alice's dream world.

Style

This retelling of the "Alice" story is continually ambiguous about whether or not Alice is in her real world, or when exactly she crosses over to the "Wonderland". Early in the film, Alice appears to be in her bedroom, when a stuffed rabbit display comes to life and breaks out of its cage. Alice follows it up a large, rocky hill and into the drawer of a writing desk. This leads to a cavern where soon after spying the White Rabbit eating sawdust from a bowl with a spoon, she trips and falls through a bucket and seemingly down an elevator. "Wonderland" itself is a strange mix of a household-like areas with very little concern for logical space or size. Its inhabitants tend to be strange mixtures of rubbish and dead animals, such as a bed with bird legs, or a stuffed lizard with glass eyes.

Some characters from the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland appear in similar, but Svankmajerian, forms. Such as a wind-up toy rabbit for the March Hare, or a sock with glass eyes for the Caterpillar. Similarly, several sequences from the original story, such as Alice's growing and shrinking via the consumption of unusual food and drink, or the scene in which a crying baby changes into a pig, are portrayed in original forms. For example, when Alice shrinks, she is transformed into a doll which looks fairly similar to her regular self.

The movie also contains a number of original sequences not related to the original novel. In one such sequence, Alice is trapped inside a doll-like shell, after being made to walk into a bowl of milk while in her shrunken form, and is locked in a food closet. The Queen's character is also changed somewhat, in that her execution sentences are carried out.

When the movie ends, it is ambiguous whether everything that happened to Alice was indeed real, or if she is still dreaming.

The visuals are often described as grotesque, perverse, or disturbing, but overall not repulsive. Prominent is the stuffed white rabbit, whose chest is constantly leaking so that he has to keep eating sawdust, and various animated skulls and slabs of raw meat products. As mentioned previously, many of the animated characters are made of surprising household objects. There are a number of visual puns. Scissors and knives are also recurring themes.

The film also intermittently features a jarring device in which a close-up of Alice's lips appears to deliver narrative sentences describing speech or thoughts, such as "said the White Rabbit". This occurs frequently throughout the picture. It is considered by some both irritating and indicative of some of Svankmajer's weaker didactic tendencies.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alice (1988 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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