Jan Švankmajer: Lekce Faust. 1994

Czech animator Jan Švankmajer remains a rare and remarkable creative force in the motion pictures. For Lekce Faust (‘Faust’) his second feature length film, Švankmajer drew on his personal experience and familiarity with the Faust legend through his work on Czech director Emil Radok’s film ‘Doktor Faust’ in 1958. But, over and above that formative influence, his academic training in puppetry in the Academy of Performing Arts (Prague), coupled with his commitment to surrealist performing art via the Czech Surrealist Group, led him to craft one of the most intriguing films of the 20th century. Marrying his mastery of stop-motion cinematography to a volatile mix of puppetry, human theatre, German opera, Czech folk performance, and dark irreverence  Švankmajer’s ‘Lekce Faust’ is an absolute original. Of particular interest is the fact that he manages to loosely weave into the narrative two rather well known tragic plays --  Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus‘ (1604) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘Faust‘ (1806), in a spirit of imagination and creative interpretation. In the end, one is left with the feeling, that in all of this, Švankmajer remains the original conjurer, the ‘black magician’. Watch.

Jan Švankmajer's Faust

(Note: The full length version was pulled down by YT. This is a glimpse of a sequence. I will add the full version as soon as it is available again on YT)


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8 Comments on "Jan Švankmajer: Lekce Faust. 1994"

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Well, I’ll admit the marionettes can be a bit annoying, but really, I thought the movie was pretty damn good. You can practically feel the guy’s mental state deteriorating near the end, as everything gets more and more frantic.


Of all of Svankmajer’s work, this is one that seems like previous knowledge of him would be helpful going into. A lot of the symbolism, such as all of the food that gets eaten, the disembodied leg, the clay baby, and the close-ups of mouths are all much more easy to understand as shorthand to his usual concerns.


Undoubtedly staggering, near masterpiece work.




a wonderful blend of real-time and stop-motion storytelling by the surreal master,,,,,


compelled by and completely indulged in it’s content, framing, sound, atmosphere..


Brilliant, inventive, creative, imaginative. What else would one want?!!

Rishabh Bajpai

When one thinks about the story of Faust, the question that often pops in one’s head is what would be the price on my soul. :)