How can you double-check the real interest of somebody talking? Just follow these steps carefully: work 12 hours a day Monday-Friday; on Friday night don’t get any sleep and prepare your luggage; at 4am catch a bus to the closest airport and take a plane to Bratislava, Slovakia; once landed, leave your luggage at the ho(s)tel and go to listen to an old man talking. If you succeed in standing for 90 minutes in front of a bald gentleman with glasses and a white beard, and not falling asleep, then that gentleman is probably Jan Švankmajer.
The 76-year-old Czech director, animator and screenwriter is capable of influencing people like Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, and yet still remains relatively unknown to the general public. Just a few of the reasons why the Bratislava Film Festival is dedicating a retrospective to Mr. Švankmajer this year. Let’s see what this man said to keep me awake in such problematic physical conditions.