Film Review: Alice [Něco z Alenky] by Jan Švankmajer

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Bozhena Plottsya, Staff Writer

Alice by Jan Švankmajer is a Czech film that cleverly uses both stop animation and live action to portray Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Originally named Něco z Alenky, meaning Something from Alice, the movie follows the classic tale of a girl who follows a rabbit into a strange fantasy world. This particular film creates an absolute work of art using an unsettling, yet incredibly interesting aesthetic.

The scenery in this movie revolves around a bizarre interpretation of items found around Alice’s house, which are already of a disturbing appearance. The rabbit that the young girl follows is a taxidermied animal that comes to life, constantly losing sawdust out of a rip in its body. Alice herself is partially played as an antique doll. There are also plenty of other references to characters in Lewis Carroll’s novel, such as a caterpillar made of socks, and the Mad Hatter, a puppet toy. With all intriguing aspects, watching this film is like staring at a moving art piece.

The appreciation for Alice comes from its unique and entrancing graphics. Character development and an intricate plot are not as present. In fact, there is rarely any dialogue. The few words spoken are all by the young girl, Alice, who narrates certain events. The film is more appealing to those who appreciate the appearance of a film, rather than storytelling through character details. Those who focus more on the script and plot of a movie may not be interested in watching.

Even though one of this film’s main attributes is aesthetics, its interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s tale does not disappoint. References to his book are still very well premeditated. Overall, this movie keeps viewers interested with its peculiar spin on a classic tail. The intriguing creation on the screen makes it hard for many to look away.