Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Alice [1988]

(ot Neco z Alenky) Swiss/UK/West German live-action/stop-motion-Animated Movie (1988). Condor/Film Four International/Hessischer Rundfunk. Pr Peter-Christian Fueter. Exec pr Keith Griffiths, Michael Havas. Dir Jan Švankmajer. Anim dir Bedřich Glaser. Screenplay Švankmajer, trans Alice Turner, Gerry Turner. Based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll. Starring Kristýna Kohoutová (Alice). Voice actors Kohoutová (Alice), Camilla Power (Alice in English). 85 mins. Colour.

In many ways A is a very faithful adaptation of Carroll's book – depicting all the important scenes, and representing accurately that reading which interprets the book as a nightmare – yet A has an affect that is entirely its own: it is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for grown-ups (see Wonderland). There is no dialogue, only Alice's occasional narration; otherwise the soundtrack is composed of exaggerated gratings, scratchings, etc. The White Rabbit is initially a glass-cased stuffed rabbit in Alice's bedroom – leaking sawdust, it must frequently re-stuff itself – and vanishes not down a hole but into the drawer of a desk set alone in a windswept waste; the images of the desk and of Alice's ripping away the knob as she tries to open the drawer recur obsessively throughout the movie; others include scissors, clocks, keys and locks, cakes ... The most nightmarish sequence is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, in which the insanity is played for real to produce what is in effect a Psychological Thriller in miniature. Everywhere domestic objects and Alice's Toys are deployed; e.g., the Caterpillar is a living sock perched atop a darning-mushroom, while Alice, on shrinking, becomes one of her own Dolls (on one occasion the child-Alice claws her way out of the doll, as if being Skinned). When Alice wakes in her bedroom she is surrounded by the scattered ingredients of her Dream – but the rabbit's case is missing, and the rabbit itself gone. Investigating, she finds a vertical drawer in the case's base; opening it, she discovers a pair of scissors ... [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.