Journal of Urban Culture Research


Haruka Kawakami

Publication Date



"Manipulation" is an important concept in the films of Jan Švankmajer, an influential Czech surrealist filmmaker. As a surrealist artist who aims for the liberation of humans from any kind of restraint, he insists that people should resist all kinds of societal manipulations. His insistent exposure of manipulation can be seen as a protest against its concealment as a convention. However, the idea of manipulation has more ambiguous meanings in his films. Švankmajer brings inorganic objects to life through careful manipulations, such as stop-motion animation, while applying the same techniques to humans to disrupt their identities. Consequently, both humans and objects are represented as puppets: humans as quasi-objects and objects as quasi-autonomous things. These hybrid puppets expose the contradicting nature of human beings, perpetually in the tension between freedom and restraint.



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