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Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer

The author of this movie is Jan Svankmajer, the clip is called “Darkness/Light/Darkness”; it was produced in 1989. This clip can be easily found on the World Wide Web. From the first point of view, the main character of this short movie is a hand made of plasticine, it looks realistic enough, its first action is switching the light on. Then two eyes appear first they knock and then roll into the door, as the hand opens the door for them; it gets the eyes on the fingers and begins to see. After that there is a knock at the door again, now comes the second hand. It does not have the eyes on its fingers, but suddenly something tries to fly in through the window: it is a butterfly made of two ears. The hands catch it and tear the butterfly into two parts; after that, the hand with eyes attaches the ears to the sides of the second hand. Suddenly there is a knock at the door, a nose fights its way through the door, tries to sniff somebody up in the room; the hands pull it in, but there is not just a nose, a head rolls in. The hands share their new organs with the head: one gives it two eyes and the other two ears. Then from one side of the room, there appears a tongue, from another – two jaws. After that the head is filled with brains; subsequently, two legs come and are also attached to the head. All of a sudden there appears a male reproductive organ, it knocks at the door with wild energy, the inhabitants of the room do not want to let it in, so one hand fetches a glass and splashes water on it. After this action, it becomes very calm and even depressed. Then some mass of plasticine sweeps into the room and starts creating a full-fledged man. As a result, when the man is normal and full-sized it does not fit into the tiny room; the hand switches the light off.

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The first thing that attracts attention is rhythmical knocking, while the screen is black and only credits appear on the dark background, the knocking continues when the hand switches the light on with a click. The next remarkable thing is that the first-hand moves by touch. From my point of view, the main theme is that a man creates himself with his own hands and that nobody is responsible for the result of such creation except this man, but I have found an allegory in this short movie suchlike when a man have sharpened himself he has no space to grow further. I do not agree with this idea, as it rejects the spiritual and moral growth of a man.

On the whole, I liked this movie, though there were some moments which personally I find disgusting, it is the appearance of such organs as a tongue, jaws and a penis. As for the tongue and jaws, the most unpleasant moment was the attachment of these organs. As for the penis, the question about the male ego comes to my mind, as it knocks with some cruelty and impatience at the door, but it was pulled down by a splash of water. There is no music during the short movie, but there is a rhythmical knocking, while the credits are shown on the black background. Besides this very knocking produces the strict effect of sequence, as everything happens when the time comes, not earlier and not later. The thing the filmmaker is trying to say is not obvious, though its meaning lies on the surface. The colors of representation are muffled, gloomy, and somber; the only source of light is a lamp, which gives a little light. The technique supports the theme, as with the help of plasticine one can make everything he/she wants, thus everyone can create his own world, character, life, and fortune. I do not think it would have the same impact if the movie was created with help of a computer program. I have chosen this film because its theme is not quite obvious and not very difficult to comprehend.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 8). Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer.

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"Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer." StudyCorgi, 8 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer." November 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Short Movie “Darkness/Light/Darkness” by Jan Svankmajer'. 8 November.

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