If you're a fan of master Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer – and we're certainly that – then one of your most prized possessions should be the BFI's 2007 DVD release, Jan Švankmajer: The Complete Short Films, a beautifully presented and luxuriously featured 3 disc set that remains to this day the definitive collection of the director's short films. Now comes the announcement that they are to follow this with a dual format release – featuring both standard and high definition versions of the film – of his award-winning 1988 feature film Alice (Něco z Alenky).
Combining a live-action Alice (Kristýna Kohoutová) with a stop-motion Wonderland filled with threatening, bizarre characters, Švankmajer's deliberately crude style of animation, use of close-ups and rich design work lend the film a pervading sense of unease and a menacing dream-logic which marries a sly visual wit with piercing psychological insight.
Jan Švankmajer won the Feature Film Award for Alice at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, 1987 and the film was nominated for Best Film in the Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Awards, 1989. It's a distinctly disturbing and creepy interpretation of Lewis Carroll's perennial literary classic, yet is perhaps the closest to the original work.
Alice will be be released, fully uncut and in its original Czech-language version for the very first time, as a dual format edition (DVD and Blu-ray) by the BFI on 23rd May 2011 at the RRP of £19.99.
Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition with bot the original Czech and alternative English-language audio, the release will have the following extras:
- Alice in Wonderland (1903, 9 mins): the first screen adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic;
- Elsie and the Brown Bunny (1921, 8 mins, DVD only): early advertising film for Cadbury Bros. Ltd;
- Alice in Label Land (1974, 12 mins): animated COI film explaining the 1973 food labelling laws;
- Stille Nacht II: Are We Still Married? (1992, 3 mins): the Quay Brothers' Alice- inspired music film;
- Stille Nacht IV: Can't Go Wrong Without You (1993, 4 mins): the white rabbit returns in the second of the Quay Brothers' music films for His Name is Alive;
- 34-page illustrated booklet with essays, film notes, biographies and credits.