603. Darkness/Light/Darkness – Jan Svankmajer

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SUMMARY: In a tiny room, various body parts meet up and begin to construct themselves into a human male.

WHY IT’S HERE: Although the very idea of disembodied limbs and organs slithering around independently may sound creepy, ‘Darkness/Light/Darkness’ is in fact one of Jan Svankmajer’s most overtly comic films. It opens with a single hand dragging itself through the door of a room about the size of a doll’s house lounge. Almost immediately, a pair of eyes roll through the other door and the fingers of the hand append them to themselves to create a sort of google-eyed puppet that is instantly amusing. Front here, the arrival of more and more body parts see the creation grow until the room is too small to contain it, leading to the ambiguous but disturbing final image. Although it does leave the viewer with plenty to think about, ‘Darkness/Light/Darkness’ is one of Svankmajer’s most purely enjoyable films and just the opportunity to see a variety of human body parts moving independently is a treat. Of particular note is the grimly meaty squelch across the floor performed by the tongue, the sickening splosh made by the insertion of the eyeballs into the head and the hysterically shame-faced arrival of the penis and testicles.

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