Jun 21, 2012
(Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic, 2010, 35mm, 109 min)
Jan Svankmajer is back after a five-year hiatus, and he’s bringing with him the most unpretentious mind-bender you’ll ever find in the romantic comedy section. At the beginning of Surviving Life, the director interrupts with an apology for the film’s mix of live action and paper cutout animation—“the production ran out of money”—and then launches into the story of Eugene, a middle-aged office worker who meets the woman of his dreams in his dreams. In his waking hours, Eugene visits an analyst, on whose walls are good-natured talking portraits of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. As splicings of cutout animation create a world between waking and dreaming, Eugene’s dilemma beckons the viewer to choose one reality or another, while depictions of God as an angry old woman temper our confusion with delight.