JAN SVANKMAJER
OSSUARY (1970)

Director: Jan Svankmajer
Year: 1970
Time: 10 mins
Music: Zdenek Liska
Eye of Sound: Often described as a "horror documentary", Ossuary explores details of the macabre church of Sedlec. A craftsman is said to have used about 60.000 corpses of Plague victims from the middle ages to furnish the church, a task that took him a decade and was finished in 1870. A century later, Svankmajer visits the church in an attempt to understand the reasons for the work. And the answer lies in a popular poem by surrealist writer Jacques Prévert. The poem is beautifully set to music by Svankmajer's usual collaborator Zednek Liska, who presents us with a strange mixture of light jazz, quasi-lyrical female vocals and contemporary music intertwined with the image's alternating rhythms. Prévert's text sung in this grim context seems to reflect on the only known way to defeat death: to tame it in a painted cage, locked behind a painted door. And if death can still be heard once caged, only then you have a work of art worthy of your signature. To defeat death while encouraging it to sing is not, of course, a privilege of painters: it is a secret known to poets, musicians, filmmakers, craftsmen and all great artists alike - a secret beautifully disclosed in this unforgettable film.  
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7 comments:

  1. THIS is one mighty cool blog you have here

    regards

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  2. Thank you! You are very kind. Stay tuned!

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  3. The file can only be downloaded with a Premium account?

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  4. No, it can be downloaded without an account, if you wait for a minute or so.

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  5. It seems the file is no longer available for download... can you relink it?

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  6. Thanks for the warning, Anonymous. I'll rip it again and post a new link soon. Stay tuned.

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