Dimensions of Dialogue
(1982) (0:11:20)

Click here for a 4.1 meg quicktime of the vegetable head in action

This is a study, decidedly pessimistic, of some of the base types of dialogue people have with each other, and the ways that these dialogues can go horribly awry.

In the first segment, an exercise in forced conformity, Svankmajer "brings to life" a famous painting by Arcimboldo, a painter known for his portraits of human faces made of fruits and vegetables. This segment has the feel of a relief painting in motion... the plane of existence is flat, but all objects are 3-dimensional.

Click here for a 1.8 meg quicktime of the "bald guy" in action
The "vegetable head" animatedly waltzes across the "landscape" which it inhabits... a rough-looking wooden platform of some sort, until it meets another head, constructed of mechanical drafting products. The two attack each other, until one has been "eaten" by the other (the vegetables "lose"). After "eating", the winning head vomits up the loser, who takes on a look which is a rough hybrid of the two. Of course, the two heads attack each other again.

This goes on, with an occasional new head getting involved, until both heads are identical bald human men. They then vomit multiple replicas of themselves.

The second segment seems to be about love gone sour... two full-size clay figures, male and female, sit at opposite sides of a table. They reach across, take each others hands, smile, and finally kiss.

The kiss turns into another "consumptive" act... the clay figures melt into each other, becoming a flowing, sexual blob with occasional limbs. Eventually, they regain their identities at their respective sides of the table, but look out! There is a newcomer! A small, leftover, formless blob makes moves towards both "parents", but is rejected by each.

The lovers obviously hadn't planned on this, and now they hate each other. They beat each other into clay pulps.

In the third segment, the two bald human heads from the first segment, now fully dimensional on what is clearly a tabletop, gauge each other by eye, trying to figure out how to interact without fighting.

They cooperatively offer objects from their mouths that they think would help the other... toothpaste vs. a toothbrush, a pencil vs. a sharpener (held by disgusting tongues), etc.They start off okay, but eventually in their haste anticipate the other's needs, they start getting things wrong... a piece of bread gets a shoelace through it, the toothbrush goes into the pencil sharpener (not a pretty sight), etc., until the two collapse into panting wrecks, torn up by their hasty actions.

Check out the Svankmajer pages that I have completed; these include stills and many quicktime movies:

This page was created 7/14/96.
All content compiled/edited by Tim Fitzpatrick, except where noted.