Archive of films Surviving Life / Přežít svůj život

Czech Republic / Slovak Republic
2010, 105 min

Section: Czech Films 2010–2011
Year: 2011

Jan Švankmajer’s surrealist collage about the dark forces of the male subconscious, in which he combines live action with animated passages. In the story of the ageing Evžen, who escapes his dreary life into the world of real dreams, important roles are assigned to the hero’s orthodox psychoanalyst, his jealous wife, and his super-ego stylised as a repulsive, overbearing bag lady. The part of the protagonist’s oneiric love interest is played by Klára Issová.


Evžen, a man in late middle age, has a dream about a beautiful young woman, and it yanks him out of his stereotypical marital existence. Since he feels this isn’t just a case of absurd daydreaming, but of a destined encounter, he goes to see a psychoanalyst. The latter merely views it as the sexual frustration of a man dissatisfied with his childless marriage to the ageing Milada. Realising he can’t rely on anyone but himself, Evžen finds a way of entering his dream world, where he starts to build a new, better existence. However, not only does his jealous wife interfere in this new life, but also a repulsive, overbearing old woman whom the analyst defines as his super-ego.... "Fear of life is a basic human emotion. It’s far stronger than the fear of death,” notes Jan Švankmajer. "If, as Freud tells us, the purpose of dreams is to fulfil our secret or manifest desires, then somewhere deep inside us, that most basic of human desires is surely being constantly fulfilled: to survive one’s own life.” In his icily sarcastic, surrealist collage about the dark forces of the male subconscious, the director combines real actors with animated passages.

About the director

Jan Švankmajer

Jan Švankmajer (b. 1934, Prague) is known for an original vision, whether cinematic, artistic or theoretical, which is rooted in his surrealist persuasion. As an artist he was also involved in a number of feature films. He debuted in 1964 with the short grotesque The Last Trick of Mr Schwarzwald and Mr Edgar and rapidly became one of the key figures of world animation. From shorts he moved on to features incorporating animated episodes. Even his animated works often included important roles for real objects or people, as in the combined features Alice (1987), Faust (1994), Conspirators of Pleasure (1996), Little Otík (2000) and Lunacy (2005). The Karlovy Vary IFF held a retrospective of his work in 2004, and in 2009 he was honoured with the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema.


ATHANOR – společnost pro filmovou tvorbu, s.r.o.
U 5. baterie 21, 162 00, Praha 6
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 233 322 905
Fax: +420 224 313 383
E-mail: [email protected]

Bontonfilm, a.s.
Na Poříčí 1047/26, 110 00, Praha 1
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 257 415 111
Fax: +420 257 415 113
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Czech Films 2010–2011
Director: Jan Švankmajer
Screenplay: Jan Švankmajer
Dir. of Photography: Jan Růžička, Juraj Galvánek
Music: Alexandr Glazunov, Jan Kalinov
Editor: Marie Zemanová
Producer: Jaromír Kallista
Production: ATHANOR – společnost pro filmovou tvorbu, s.r.o.
Cast: Václav Helšus, Klára Issová, Zuzana Kronerová
Contact: ATHANOR – společnost pro filmovou tvorbu, s.r.o., Bontonfilm, a.s.
Distributor: Bontonfilm, a.s.


Jaromír Kallista


Petr Slavík

Distributor, PR & Marketing

Zuzana Kronerová


Veronika Hrubá

Film Crew

Aleš Danielis



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