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Surviving Life Reception and Screening

Dear Animation World Network,

I am pleased to inform you of an event this week at Museum of the Moving Image relating to animation and puppetry. On Thursday, December 1, the Museum will present the New York premiere of legendary Czech animator Jan Svankmajer’s new film Surviving Life and a reception to celebrate the exhibition Surviving Life: Collages by Jan Svankmajer. The exhibition features 50 collages created by Svankmajer and his crew and used in the production of the film. I hope you can share the event details below with your colleagues.

Thank you,

Sonia Lupher

Museum intern For inquiries, please contact Tomoko Kawamoto, Public Information Manager ( / 718 777 6830)

Surviving Life: Collages by Jan Svankmajer, Exhibition of 50 Collages by the Czech Animator and Short Films on View at Moving Image

November 17-February 26, 2012 Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street), Astoria, NY

Reception and New York premiere screening of new film Surviving Life on December 1. Reception at 6:00 p.m., screening at 7:00 p.m  

The legendary surrealist Czech animator Jan Svankmajer's new feature Surviving Life uses a combination of photographic collages and live-action photography to explore the increasingly intertwined dream and real lives of a Prague clerk. Fifty of the collages created for and used in the production of the film are now on view at Museum of the Moving Image in the Amphitheater Gallery through February 26, 2012. On Thursday, December 1, 2011, the Museum will present the New York Premiere of Surviving Life and a reception to celebrate the exhibition. The exhibition Surviving Life: Collages by Jan Svankmajer is presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York and Athanor ( Reception sponsored by Staropramen Beer. Surviving Life: Collages by Jan Svankmajer also includes continuous screenings of two short films by Svankmajer—Game with Stones (1965, 8 mins.) and Dimensions of Dialogue (1982, 10 mins)—in the Video Screening Amphitheater and a clip from Surviving Life: Film about the Film (2010, 10 mins. Dir. Juraj Galvanek), a behind-the-scenes documentary showing the painstaking process of producing Surviving Life.  “Jan Svankmajer is one of the most inventive and singular animators in contemporary cinema, with a darkly comic and distinctly surreal vision,” said Chief Curator David Schwartz. “The exhibition makes a wonderful counterpoint and companion to Jim Henson's Fantastic World.” In Surviving Life (2010), a middle-aged office worker Eugene (Vaclav Helsus) finds a way to enter his dreams at will, to explore his childhood and see what really happened to his parents. As he explains to his psychoanalyst, in his dreams, he has fallen in love with a young woman named Eugenia (Klara Issova). Back in real life, his wife is forced to chase him into his dreams for a fateful confrontation. Svankmajer's boundless imagination and signature blend of absurdity and darkness come through in this, his first film in five years. Surviving Life will screen in the Museum’s Main Theater on Thursday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 public / $10 Museum members / Free for Silver Screen members and above. Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 718 777 6800. The animated films of Jan Svankmajer (b. 1934) are dreamlike in tone but rooted in the physical world. His films incorporate photographs of household objects—including trash, food, furniture, live and stuffed animals, clock, and feature puppets as characters—placing, in Svankmajer’s words, and “imaginary world into reality.” The collages on view in the exhibition were used to create frames of Surviving Life. Svankmajer’s crew took tens of thousands of still images of the actors in the film, each photographed separately in different sessions. The photographs were then cut out and added to collages consisting of scenery, props and photographs of other actors. For each actor, hundreds of photographs were taken of mouth movements, which then could be combined in different forms to make sentences. This innovative technique creates an aura of unreality that is fitting for a film about a middle-aged man who leads a double life—one real, the other in his dreams. Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition currently on view in the Museum’s changing exhibitions gallery through January 16, 2012, explores the creative process of the internationally known filmmaker, puppeteer, and television pioneer. The exhibition features over 120 artifacts, including drawings, storyboards, props, photos, and 15 iconic puppets, as well as video material—all of which illustrate Henson’s boundless creativity and innumerable accomplishments.

Press contact: Tomoko Kawamoto / / 718 777 6830

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
New York