Conspirators of pleasure plunges the viewer into unexpected erotic experiences with the black humour and most amusing surrealist subversion of Švankmajer. The theme of sex and desire is one of the pillars of the Czech animator’s oeuvre, which he shares with other surrealist filmmakers like Luis Buñuel, whose classic Un chien andalou (1929) we also show as a work admired not only by Švankmajer but also by the Brothers Quay. Repressed desire runs through the work of the Quay twins, who dedicated their first feature, Institute Benjamenta (1996) (inspired by Robert Walser’s novel Jakob von Gunten) “to those who desire without end”.
As an introduction, we show two Starewitch films from his almost unknown Russian period: the first is a story of infidelity featuring beetles and a grasshopper, complete with a projection cabin in flames, and the second a wedding with bride, groom and guests, all of them insects.
- Mest kinematografícheskogo operátora (The cameraman’s revenge), L. Starewitch, 1911, video, silent, 10 min
- Vesiólie stseni iz zhizni zhivótnikh (Amusing scenes from the Life of insects), L. Starewitch, video, silent, 5 min
- Un chien andalou, Luis Buñuel, 1929, video, 17 min
- Institute Benjamenta, Brothers Quay, 1995, 35 mm, 104 min
- Spiklenci slasti (Conspirators of pleasure), J. Švankmajer, 1997, 35 mm, 78 min.