Lunacy [DVD] [2005]

Jan Svankmajer's engagingly twisted vision run free in his fifth feature film, which get a solid presentation in this DVD release from Zeitgeist Video. Lunacy (aka Sileni) has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The image looks rich and sharply detailed, with the stop-motion sequences (featuring slabs of dancing beef) especially impressive. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 2.0, and the lively, imaginative mix is well served on disc. The dialogue is in Czech, with optional English subtitles. Bonus material on this release includes a short documentary on the making of Lunacy, the film's theatrical trailer, a gallery of still photos and production artwork, and an interview with Svankmajer featured in the accompanying booklet. Lunacy is a film that's hardly for all tastes, but cineastes with a fondness for the bizarre and surreal will find this to be heady stuff, and the DVD edition presents the film in fine quality.
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Overview

Special Features

  • 16:9 anamorphic transfer, formatted for widescreen televisions
  • "The Making of Lunacy"
  • Behind-the-scenes photos and illustrated "treatment" cards
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Print interview with Svankmajer, from GreenCine
  • Optional English subtitles

Synopsis

Lunacy
A man who fears he's edging into madness gets a fresh perspective on what insanity really means in this frantic, visually inventive black comedy from Czech auteur Jan Svankmajer. Jean (Pavel Liska) is a deeply troubled man who has been haunted by violent hallucinations since the death of his mother, who was committed to a mental institution when she passed on. While arranging his mother's funeral, Jean meets a fellow inmate who claims to be the Marquis de Sade (Jan Triska), and lives as if he's in 18th Century France rather than the Czech Republic in 2005. Jean strikes up an alliance with de Sade, though they can hardly be called friends, and after becoming an unwilling accomplice to de Sade's debauchery, Jean joins him at a hospital run by Dr. Murlloppe (Jaroslav Dusek), who offers "Purgative Therapy" for people who aren't mad but could be in the future. Jean falls for a beautiful nurse named Charlota (Anna Geislerova) who claims she's being held at the hospital against her will; in time, Jean hatches a plan to liberate her and the inmates, though he learns the truth is even more disturbing than he's been led to believe. Punctuated by animated tableaux in which raw meat scampers about the screen through the magic of stop-motion animation, Lunacy (aka Sileni) was inspired in part by the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe as well as the writings of de Sade, which are quoted liberally in the film. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Pavel Liska
    Pavel Liska - Jean Berlot
  • Jan Triska
    Jan Triska - The Marquis
  • Anna Geislerová
    Anna Geislerová - Charlota
  • Jaroslav Dusek
    Jaroslav Dusek - Dr. Murlloppe
  • Martin Huba
    Martin Huba - Dr. Coulmiere
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