385. Labyrinth – Jan Lenica

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SUMMARY: A winged man in search of a better life finds himself in a large, unfamiliar metropolis.

WHY IT’S HERE: ‘Labyrinth is Polish director Jan Lenica’s masterpiece of satirical foreboding and comic grotesquery. Lenica had made several films previous to this (often collaborating with Walerian Borowczyk) but in ‘Labyrinth’ all the best elements of these previous works come together to make a truly great and unforgettable film. Lenica draws on influences from Greek mythology, Aldous Huxley, Franz Kafka and George Orwell to create a terrifying urban nightmare. At first the city of labyrinth seems appealing to the winged hero and he cheerfully discards his wings, satisfied that he has found a better life. But the attractive architecture turns out to be just a façade, behind which lurk evil creatures and victims who are more than happy to remain in that role. The hero is chased, threatened, kidnapped and scrutinized before his final attempt at escape. The world of ‘Labyrinth’ is beautifully realised with Lenica’s trademark cut-out animation and the nightmare is brought to life with vivid energy and layers of symbolism.

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