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Born: Czechoslovakia, 4 September 1934.

Major figure of contemporary East European animation whose surrealistic, often macabre work owes more to the nightmarish visions of Kafka and Buñuel than to the sunny daydreams of Walt Disney and his creative progeny. Noted for investing otherwise ordinary objects with ominous overtones, Svankmajer reached his widest audience to date with a feature-length adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice which blended animated and live-action footage—a technique he had earlier used to hair-raising effect in Down to the Cellar (1983). He is a major influence on the somewhat better known animation artists, the brothers Quay, as evinced by their tribute, The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984).


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This page was last updated on 3 September 2000.