Convulsive desires: Characters in the filmography of Jan Švankmajer in relation to the Freudian death drive

Julia J. Kirszman

Affiliation: Universidad Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Keywords: film, animation, uncanny, Svankmajer, eroticism, voracity, surrealism

DOI: 10.17160/josha.5.7.467

Languages: English

A character is a construct, a metaphor of the human nature, whose design consists in two principal aspects: the characterization and the true character – that which lies beneath the mask of characterization. Therefore, we can infer that every character, regardless of their level of prominence, consists always of two characters, the one it shows and the one that hides. In this research, we will focus on what remains hidden beneath the surface of characterization. In order to analyze the true character, it will be necessary to study the desire that conceals itself behind the motivation of the character. The uncertain abyss where desires flow is a field broadly explored by the Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer. His characters seem to be absolutely dominated by the pleasure principle and, therefore, in constant dispute between the pleasure and the reality principle. Nevertheless, this apparently liberating desire turns out to be the cause of their own perdition.

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