For thirty years, the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer has been using a variety of stop-motion techniques to express his unique sensibility, a disturbing blend of the silly and the horrific. His FAUST, a willfully bizarre mixture of live action and animation, draws on Marlowe, Goethe, and the
architecture and folk drama of his native Prague to fashion a contemporary parable of life after socialism.
The action begins on a normal busy day outside an entrance to the city's underground-rail system; two men are distributing handbills that feature a section of an urban map with one location cryptically marked. Some people discard these flyers, but one middle-aged man (...