Director: Jan Švankmajer
Release Date: 1971
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Jabberwocky © Jan Svankmajer‘Jabberwocky’ has little to do with the poem from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through The Looking Glass’, although we hear it being recited by a little girl during the opening sequence.

The film it is Švankmajer’s surrealistic masterpiece on the loss of childhood, depicted by several episodes, which are separated by a box of bricks, a labyrinth and a black cat crushing the box of bricks.

During the episodes we are treated on extremely surrealistic images of very active inanimate objects in a child’s room. We watch a boy’s suit growing a forest in his room, large cannibalistic dolls grinding, ironing and eating little dolls, a china baby in a cradle destroying two tin armies, a pocket knife performing acrobatic tricks until it makes an ill-fated fall and stabs itself, and schoolbooks producing paper boats and planes, which fly out of the window, while a portrait of a father produces pictures of beautiful women.

The rather morbid behavior of the everyday objects is quite unsettling and it shows how a child’s fantasy can be both imaginative and cruel. Yet, in the end the labyrinth is solved, the cat – the only living thing in the entire film – is caged, and the boy’s suit is replaced by an adult one. The days of imagination are over, the fantasy is gone.

‘Jabberwocky’ is without doubt one of Švankmajer’s most powerful films. He would only top it eleven years later, with ‘Dimensions of a Dialogue’ (1982). Švankmajer would explore the imagination of children further in the moving ‘Down to the Cellar’ (1983), and arguably in his unique adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s most famous work ‘Alice Neco Z Alenky’ (1987).

Watch ‘Jabberwocky’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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