SURVIVING LIFE is a classic Svan Jankmajer film: animation interspersed with live footage to create a surreal vision of life - at once a Kafka-esque nightmare, and very, very, funny! In this particular flick, Eugene is a middle-aged, happily married man, who has a surreal dream about a young, beautiful, sexy woman in red (Klára Issová). In his waking life he tries all manner of old-wives tales to recreate that dream, and even resorts to psychotherapy to find herself again. The problem is that the psychotherapist is basically using techniques that answer what the dream is really about and so eliminate it. All under the mocking gaze of portraits of Jung and Freud who alternatively laugh, roll their eyes and applaud.
SURVIVING LIFE is witty, funny, imaginative, surreal but also somehow authentic in how it portrays the way in which we can still be bowled over by a crush way past our teenage years. I really believed that Eugene was captivated by his lady in red, but also that he was a decent guy. And even though Czech art-house animation might not leap out at you, I would encourage anyone who wants a more sophisticated version of a rom-com, with a light touch of the Terry Gilliams, to check this out.
SURVIVING LIFE played Venice and will be released in the Czech Republic on November 4th 2010.