The 6th International Symposium of Surrealism (UK)
論楊 • 斯凡克梅耶電影『愛麗絲夢遊仙境』中兒童想像力之虐戀特質
Uncovering Alice’s Cabin of Curiosities: on the Sadomasochism of Infantile Imagination in the film ‘Něco z Alenky’ of Jan Švankmajer
受英國維多利亞時期Lewis Carroll原著啟發，Švankmajer認為兒童並非如成人所想像純真無邪，反而具有極大的想像力，能夠「看見」大人已無法感知到的世界，大人卻亟欲保護孩童免受惡靈的侵犯與誘惑。實際上，「純真」(innocence)概念為維多利亞時期的政治宣傳訴求，正是英國工業革命與城市文化興起，使得兒童安身立命的生存環境遭到威脅，淪為童工的下場。Lewis Carroll 在這部作品中不斷以兔子的角色提醒時間的流逝，暗示作者對童年的眷顧，此作亦暗藏Carroll所擅長的數學符號與猜謎遊戲，作者藉此抒發保守當局對其兒童「裸」照抨擊的顛覆思維。筆者所指涉的兒童想像力是一體兩面的，從拉岡鏡像理論出發，兒童對自身認同是由局部到全面的完整性，從「純真」概念出發，僅有藝術家或創作者能保有兒童的想像力。捷克超現實藝術家Švankmajer的「愛麗絲」一作，以薩德式虐戀手法對待日常物件，食人主義式地殘暴吞噬著彼此，使得原本靜止的日常物件瞬間活了起來，威脅著愛麗絲，在此是Švankmajer想像力作用使然。童話故事亦非如表象寫給兒童閱讀的，許多這類著作暗藏著作者在當時政權所抵制的顛覆性言論，Švankmajer歷經1968年布拉格之春、捷克共產黨的統治、以及1989年的絲絨革命，藝術家不斷突破外在世界的禁錮，藉由隱喻方式發表所不能言，長期以木偶劇、黏土動畫來表彰其想法，1988年的「愛麗絲」為其首部劇情長片。之後，Švankmajer更加拍攝向薩德公爵致敬的作品「極樂同盟」(1996)與「瘋狂療養院」(2005)，本論文溯源到薩德施虐癖所發展出虐戀(Sadomasochism)，意圖探討自由思想遭到壓迫、言論受到抑制，想像力就會具有虐戀特質。
In the real world, the mind of a child always remains innocent as possible as we can. Nevertheless, children literature is full of fanciful creatures and composed of incredible scenarios. In observing the tendency of popular culture, the themes of animations related to fantasy literature are always best-selling. The audience are not necessarily children, even adults are obsessed with theses fantasies as well. This phenomenon might evoke the following questions. Are children absolutely innocent in their imagination? Why does fantasy literature attract adults so much for they are far away from the time of ‘innocence’? Is there any signification hidden in fantasy as a storytelling genre ?
In the history of literature, Alice in Wonderland (1865) written by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) might be a good example to explore the innocence of infantile imagination. First of all, we have to understand the definition of innocence for the further discussion. The word ‘innocence’ is derived from the Latin ‘in’ and ‘nocens’. Literally, it means ‘ not harmful’, to be free from guilt or sin, guiltless, pure. In actions it means “ without evil influence or effect, or not arising from evil intention.” According to Rollo May in Power and Innocence, there are two kinds of innocence. One is innocence as a quality of imagination, the innocence of the poet or artist. It is preservation of childlike clarity in adulthood. It is the preservation of childlike attitudes into maturity without sacrificing the realism of one’s perception of evil. Another kind of innocence is not leading to spirituality, but rather consists of blinders –Pseudoinnocence. Capitalizing on naïveté, it consists of a childhood that is never outgrowth, a kind of fixation on the past. This pseudoinnocence leads to utopianism; we do not then need to see the real dangers. With unconscious purpose we close our eyes to reality and persuade ourselves that we have escaped it. It is this innocence that eventually becomes self-destructive. Those who possess the authentic innocence, are always condemned by the preachers of pseudoinnocence. No wonder that Arthur Miller said, ‘The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness’ .
Born in the Victorian period, Lewis Carroll was censored because of his provocative photographs of infantile nude. As an artist, his innocence doesn’t be appreciated by the Victorian royalty at all. The photographic image of Alice Liddell, the little muse for Lewis Carroll, was criticized for being too sexual. Namely, she is the heroine of Alice in Wonderland. Under the severe censorship, Lewis Carroll creates a puzzle-like world in this literary work to defend himself against the ideological imprisonment of the imperial authorities. In 1988, Czech filmic artist Jan Švankmajer completed the film ‘ Neco z Alenky’, based on Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Does Švankmajer make this film without coincidence to reflect his confinement of creativity under the Czechoslovakian communist regime of that time? In Jan Švankmajer’s animations, the theme on childhood is always his continuous research on his alter-ego. He has never thought that children are innocent or ignorant, as adults take for granted. On the contrary, children possess the special ability to perceive what adult cannot feel. Švankmajer experienced this sensual ‘ vision’ in his childhood and consistently traced it back through his filmic works.
In ‘ Neco z Alenky’, Švankmajer adapts the literary narratives of Lewis Carroll to uncanny level. White Rabbit is the leading guide to attract Alice to this Wonderland. A rabbit hole is transformed into a weird space, where ‘live’ lots of inanimate objects. As if taking the elevator, Alice falls into this tunnel-like space and goes through three floors, viewing jars, puppets, exemplars of insects and animals, etc. With the help of the shabby space around these objects, Švankmajer creates the very space inspired by elements of Czech culture in his animation. Familiar with Rudolf II’s (1552-1612) Cabinet of Curiosities, Švankmajer talks about its influence on him, especially the art of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593):
Arcimboldo, with his anthropomorphic, cumulative methods, is one of the obsessions for which I am unable to find a satisfactory interpretation…Is it, perhaps, that profound mark of Prague Mannerism with which Rudolf II bewitched the capital, this new Hermes Trismegistos, as he was known by the initiated of that time and who is capable hundreds of years later of controlling kindred spirits? Or is it the sublimation of childhood masturbation as suggested by psychoanalysis, the passion for collecting which is so expressively manifested in the accumulation of things, animals and fruits in Arcimboldo’s methods? My weakness for Rudolfine Mannerism is well known : My relation to Prague, Rudolf II and the fateful impression of the Rudolfine era on every stone of this city and the enduring radiation of the magical atmosphere through the ages.
As a modern alchemist in Prague, Švankmajer constructs another system of knowledge different from the logical laws, with human sensual abilities. Švankmajer denounces implicitly that modern people perceive and judge the nature in which we live, the everyday life we experience, only by means of visual ability. In parallel with Marcel Duchamp’s (1887-1968) revolutionary spirit of aesthetics, Švankmajer was influenced by Czech Surrealism simultaneously and spontaneously. Different from French Surrealism, Czech Surrealism was rooted from Karel Teige’s(1900-1951) Poetism, which referred to the Czech avant-garde movement Devěstil (means ‘Nine Forces’). Devěstil stated orientation toward “life” rather than “art”. Poetism was synthesized in Cubo-Futurism, Dadaism, and Constructivism as well. Teige expanded the Constructivist base, set in the everyday practical world, with a hedonistic Epicureanism intended to sweep aside accumulated pain, tragedy, and pessimism. Nevertheless, Švankmajer developed his Poetism with dark, gothic humor, broadening object relationship with extraordinary imagination and anthropomorphic magic. In such object relations, the idea of consumption is repetitively represented in Švankmajer’s films. Here often can be seen the cannibalistic, sadomasochist scenes. As Marcel Duchamp said, ‘ Eros, c’est la vie!’ The meaning is metaphysical, psychological rather than physically sexual. In the Introduction of Counterpleasures, Karmen MacKendrick comments on the sadomasochism: ‘Sade and Masoch do not give us pornography in any usual sense; they make use of pornographic techniques to problematize pleasure and unfold startling possibilities of language and narrative structure.
Sexuality in infantile world for Victorian society was an issue of taboo to talk about. The situation must be tough for Lewis Carroll to suffer from the reproaches of the society against his creations with the implications of sexuality. The innocence of childhood was a political statement for the Victorian authorities to discard the social decadence and advance the moral spirit. As we mentioned above, this utopian mentality is pseudoinnocence. The innocence might be regarded as the reaction against modernity. In parallel with the progression of modern society, contemplation of the past can be reflected in the passion to reactivate the historical style in fashion, furniture, architecture, and so on. Such a retrospect has been practiced in the mentality of French Surrealists in a very different way. Experiencing the trauma of WWI, they didn’t observe merely the phenomenon of modernism in Paris, juxtaposing the historical sites and modern architecture, but also the deserted and dreadful ruins destroyed by armed forces. Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) points out that ruins have been viewed as allegories for a long time, and endowed with many historical meanings. For Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and André Breton (1896-1966), such a place could evoke the uncanny and convulsive beauty. In Švankmajer’s animations, he favored old and shabby places, especially, which left some historical imprints. The same with ‘Něco z Alenky’, Švankmajer transforms an old apartment into the Wonderland with the impeccable treatment of image montage. This kind of place disturbs children’s mind more than modern architecture.
Not only obsessed with historical ruins, Surrealists are Baudelaire’s flâneurs, wandering between fashionable commodities and outmoded daily objects as well. They prefer to collect the latter for inspiring their imagination and transforming Surrealist objects. These objects are magical-circumstantial, projecting artists’ erotic desire. With Freudian Fetishism, this object relationship can be examined as the substitute of mother penis, the disavowal of the castration. Inversely, with Marxist Fetishism, the commodity is overvalued owing to the seductive images of advertising, being anthropomorphized and mythicized. Freudian Fetishism and Marxist Fetishism both are in the psychoanalytical level, but the former derives more from the inner impulse and the latter is aroused by external imagery. Taking introspective attitude, the Surrealists discover the marvelous in the antiqued objects, found in the flee market, old attic, grandmother’s closet, and so on. This might give a nostalgic sense in their creations, but Surrealists are not necessarily anti-modernists. With the ‘paranoiac–criticism’, Salvador Dali imposes his own castration anxiety on the objects, unveiling his traumas; he also turns his fetish into large-scale practical design objects, like Wae West’s Lip sofa (1937). In Švankmajer’s case, we don’t see this contradictory development in his works, where he deploys the old things persistently. Švankmajer underscores the thingness with tactile frames to imply that they are used by human being and leave the traces of sentiments; sometimes they are more alive than human beings. More alive the objects are, more solitude the human being experience. After the industrialism, capitalism, militarism, totalitarianism and communism, Švankmajer might take pessimistic attitude to modern society and intend to abandon himself in his object microcosm.
Besides the historical ruins or destroyed buildings, Surrealists think the mannequins have the power to evoke uncanniness. As anxiety invades our psyche, the lifeless objects around us might be animated. With the similar form of human being, Švankmajer make puppets alive with some magical laws: they still retain the dispositions of puppets, such as their movement, their facial expression, but they can fulfill live persons cannot realize, such as being deformed, distorted, but still alive. In ‘ Neco z Alenky’, Alice shrinks or grows her own body continuously with the help of potions, tarts, and mushrooms. Švankmajer shows the transformation of Alice’ s body imageries among a live actress, a china doll and a huge puppet. The image of a china doll implies the impossible body that Alice becomes –smaller or bigger than her actual scale. Švankmajer knows how to employ puppet images extraordinarily as a signifier as the fulfillment of something unrepresentable, unspeakable. Jan Švankmajer has developed his creative career after the College of Applied Arts in Prague, and later the Department of Puppetry. Film-making for Laterna Magika Theatre (1960) allowed Švankmajer to become one of great animation directors by means of traditional puppetry, rather than with the help of the advanced three-dimensional technology. Since the eighteenth century, marionette theatres have been popular around the Czech territories. Behind this national icon might be hidden some subversive ideas. Švankmajer spoke frankly in the interview with Peter Hamas:
I wrote somewhere that puppets are firmly anchored in my mental morphology and so I keep going back to them in my work as if to something which signifies certainly for me in relation to the world around me. I create my golems to protect me from the pogroms of reality.
Both Lewis Carroll and Jan Švankmajer were suffered from the severe censorship of the authorities, they intend to find an exit for freedom of imagination and choose the theme of fantasy. Lewis created his fantasy literature, and Švankmajer puppet theatre in his animations. However, do children not recognize or question these strange expressions in it when they read or see their works?
No more pretend innocence!
Psychologically, children are never what they should be as we adults assume. Although we’ve been children, we’ve lost not only the memory of infancy, but also the sensibilities of children to perceive what we cannot ‘see’. The power of imagination will be exerted to the extreme during the childhood. In the debut of ‘Něco z Alenky’, Švankmajer shows us an Alice with active expression. Alice cannot sit still with her sister reading by the river, and keeps on throwing stone onto water. She bothers her sister’s reading and gets upset for being beaten in the hand by her sister. Alice always wants to disturb the silence and expects something unusual to be presented in front of her. She gives us a hint, ‘ you must close your eyes, otherwise you won’t see anything.’ The magic that Alice expects occurs in a small room full of ordinary objects, which may be crucial in this Wonderland: the drawing with the image of a rabbit and a dog on the wall, upside-down placed puppets, dolls, a stuffed rabbit in the exhibit box, etc. Alice gets bored with the dead silence, and throws stone into a teacup filled with tea, stirring liquid as she did at the debut scene. This might imply Alice’s sadist inclination onto the surface of object. Then she noticed something weird happens by ‘hearing’ the sound that the stuffed rabbit breaks through the glass box by pulling out the nail. Suddenly White Rabbit dresses up like a baroque chancellor, and worries about being late with a glimpse at his watch. In the text, White Rabbit always reminds himself of belatedness, implying that time waits for no man, but time doesn’t be experienced in the Wonderland as the reality. It means timelessness in the fantastic kingdom, in parallel with the Lacanian concept of the Real, where the desire accommodates. Oddly, the watch here functions only with butter: as White Rabbit opens his pocket watch, he has to lick the butter on the watch to remind himself what time it is; the Mad Hare lays a watch on butter during the Tea Party, and then Mad Hatter wears it on his chest. Švankmajer’s visionary expression of time is reminiscent of Dali’s soft watch, the image of melting cheese. Comparison of time to provisions refers to the time consuming mechanism of Wonderland. In the Wonderland, White Rabbit is the only one who has time consciousness in the Wonderland, and awakens Alice’s (although she is not anxious about losing time at all). The subject matter of time is so crucial in Lewis Carroll’s text to imply Carroll’s resistance against growing up. The character of ‘Alice’ is the projection of his alter-ego, and the creatures, the events Alice meets is the signifiers derived from Carroll’s preference for mathematics and puzzles. As the nineteenth-century literature researcher Harold Bloom comments:
Carroll evades both sadomasochism and the Romantic erotic quest by identifying himself with the seven-year-old Alice. Wonderland has only reality principle, which is that time has been murdered. Nothing needed be substituted for time, even though only madness can murder time.’ 
The scenario of the Mad Tea Party is arranged to show how to kill the time, execute the same activity repeatedly, like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Going mad here implies the lost of signification in the Symbolic, for the Real cannot be recognized by the Other in the Symbolic. As Žižek accounts, ‘fantasy always includes the ‘impossible gaze’ of the Other, which makes the subject assume that its ‘ substance’ has been there from time immemorial and it cannot resituate itself.’ However, the Symptom that Lacan later acclaimed is the solution of the Real that we cannot return to. The Symptom is a meaningless fragment of the Real, which appears in the most devaluated parts of our daily life. Inversely, Žižek suggests we isolate the symptom from the context by virtue of which it exerts its power of fascination, to force us to see it in its utter stupidity, as a meaningless fragment of the Real. Žižek cited from Lacan, ‘ change the precious gift into a piece of shit’ (Seminar XI)  In ‘ Dimension of Dialogues’, Švankmajer allows the audience to view such strange destruction of object relationship; in ‘Něco z Alenky’, he casts a spell on objects with ‘dark alchemy’, turning the ordinary to the extraordinary, the familiar to the uncanny. Švankmajer created Alice as a fearless child, following after White Rabbit, as if she has known White Rabbit will bring her to the Wonderland, which will satisfy her desire and do no harm to her. This fantasy is the Lacanian Real, where the pleasure principle goes beyond the reality principle. Therefore, the Wonderland becomes a consuming machine, equipped with weapons, such as desk drawers, ink liquid, tarts, mushrooms, etc. The scene of a drawer consuming the body of Alice, just like a snake swallowing an elephant, is incredible. The Pleasure principle drives away the pain, so Alice sneaks into the drawer without any hesitation to chase after White Rabbit. The rational mind won’t work here until Alice has been through a series of body exploration, when Alice refuses to eat anything after the battle with the army composed of Bosch-like creatures. During this journey of body exploration, Alice repeatedly transforms from normal to small size, to larger scale backwardly. Once Alice consumes the above-mentioned objects, she can overcome the difficulty she confronts. Alice is not a consuming machine, like the mechanism of Wonderland, but securing self-identity from the body transformation through sadomasochist trials.
Repression is the Impulse of Civilization
The idea of sadomasochism originated from Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), whose thoughts were regarded the most subversive, most libertine in the time of Enlightenment. Even when Guillaume Apollinaire (1880- 1918) published a selection of Sade’s work in 1909, he proclaimed Sade as ‘the freest spirit that ever lived’. For Sade’s erotic novels with the philosophical discourses against Catholic Church went beyond the reality principle, the authorities regarded Marquis as the most dangerous enemy to break up the belief what they construct according to the rationalism. Sexuality, violence, and criminality expressed with the most obscene words by Sade put him in jail for twenty-seven years. The philosophy of Sade is absolutely not inhuman, but subject to natural laws, including the life instinct (Eros) and the death instinct (Thanatos).
Freud conceived the psychic apparatus as a homeostatic system invested with quantities of energy and regulated by the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain, developing the theories: “the pleasure principle” and “the reality principle’. As for the former, the system seeks to release the tension of accumulated excitations and to promote equilibrium of psychic energies. Evacuation or constancy and stability of energy were taken to the basic aims of psychic life. Under “ the reality principle”, under the operation of which tensions might be tolerated for a time in order to be more satisfactorily discharged later on, qualified the functioning of the pleasure principle but in no way departed from its basic logic. The death instinct shows the destruction of nature, which might be judged as the negative force (the evil) by the Catholic Church. Sade negates the idea that God creates this world, and the world will rotate itself on and on under the domain of God. Sade denounces that God blocks alternative discourses and condemns them as the curses of Satan. The pleasure principle was fully realized in Sadean literature: in ‘The Philosophy in the Bedroom’(1795), Sade acclaimed:
It is only by exploring and enlarging the sphere of his tastes and whims, it is only by sacrificing everything to the senses’ pleasure that this individual, who never asked to be cast into this universe of Man, maybe able to sow a smattering of roses atop the thorny path of life.
Sade treats eroticism as poetic violence, liberating his imagination to live on. We can observe that in Jan Švankmajer’s creations he takes the same stand with Sade, making the film ‘ The Conspirators of Pleasure’ to make homage to him. As Švankmajer said, ‘I see erotic arousal as one of the basic needs of creative result.’ 
In the prominent article ‘ The force of imagination’ on Jan Švankmajer, František Dryje commented the Sadean influence on the artist:
Whether a film by Švankmajer contains black farce, blasphemy or tragedy, the erotic meaning is always shown in its negative aspect, which in psychological terms can most probably be read as unrecognized sadomasochistic aggression. The destructive obsession which permeates all Švankmajer’s films is now somewhat hesitatingly exposed: the destruction of the object of love and, at the same time, self-destruction as a defining dominant feature of the erotic relationship.
Švankmajer’ favored Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland since his childhood, for along Alice’s journey his imagination was set free during the Communist censorship. The Czechoslovakian authorities at that time might not be familiar with the implicit signification of this Victorian literature, or intelligent enough to perceive the sadomasochism. They just despised it as the fairytale for children!
In the article ‘The Liberating Potential of the Fantastic in Contemporary Fairy Tales for Children’, Jack Zipes contradicts the shallow judgment of the authorities :
On a psychological level, through the use of unfamiliar (unheimlich) symbols, the fairy tale liberates readers of different age groups to return to repressed ego disturbances; that is, to return to familiar (heimlich) primal moments in their lives, but the fairy tale cannot be liberating ultimately unless it projects on a conscious, literary, and philosophical level the objectification of home as real democracy under nonalienating conditions. This means not that the liberating fairy tale must have a moral, doctrinaire resolution, but that to be liberating it must reflect a process of struggle against all type of suppression and authoritarianism and posit various possibilities for the concrete realization of utopia. Otherwise, the words liberating and emancipatory have no aesthetical categorical substance.
Resorting to a political statement –real democracy, liberation can exist only in such an utopia. In the Civilization and its discontents, Freud declared that human history is a history of being repressed. This means the impulse of civilization is repression. While people are benefited from civilization, they are exploited by civilization. The contradictory character of civilization makes the existence of human beings sadomasochistic. Marquis de Sade, Lewis Carroll, and Jan Švankmajer, they all confronted the extreme repression from their own authorities. Sade uses the most radical measure, obscene language, to curse the almighty Authority –the God. In the metaphysical level, this linguistic attack is much stronger than the French Revolution leaded by Napoleon. No jail could lock Sade’s free mind and his literature liberated the ‘enlightened’ Western world as well. In the name of God, sexuality is an unspeakable sin; Sade apprehends that sexuality is human nature, men are hedonists.
Sigmund Freud compares sexuality to consumption, ‘the fact of the existence of sexual needs in human beings and animals is expressed in biology by the assumption of a ‘sexual instinct,’ on the analogy of the instinct of nutrition, that is of hunger.’ This hunger might be grown out metaphysically by the unbearable solitude, which devours the self completely. If Sade is not so cannibalistic, so egoist, he might be the victim of Bastille Prison, suffered from the cannibalism of the Catholicism. As Maurice Blanchot comments, Sade’s philosophy is one of self-interest, of absolute egoism. Each of us must do exactly as he pleases, each of us is bound by one law alone, that of his own pleasure. This mortality is based upon the primary fact of absolute solitude. Sade has stated it, and repeated it, in every conceivable form:
Nature wills that we be born alone, there is no real contact or relationship possible between one person and another. The only rule of conduct for me to follow, therefore, is to prefer whatever affects me pleasurably and, conversely, to hold as naught anything which, as a result of my preferences, may cause harm to others. The greatest pain inflicted on there is of less account than my own pleasure. Little do I care if the price I have to pay for my least delight is an awesome accumulation of atrocious crimes, for pleasure flatters me, it is within, while the effects of crime, being outside me, do not affect me. 
With such a subversive attitude, Sade rebels against the whole world, which must yield obedience to his imaginative violence. Violence is the expression of the Sadean power, since Sade insights that the violence is also part of Nature. In the Old Testament, the Church praises the Creation of World positively as the miracle of God, but never points out that the violence happens during this chaotic process of Creation. Sade exposes that Nature has destructive force as human being possesses the self-destructive inclination. Sade says, ‘ Since all men are equal in the eyes of Nature , I therefore have the right, because of this identity, not to sacrifice myself for the preservation of others, their ruin being indispensable to my happiness’ Sade discerned that power was a social category, that was part and parcel of the organization of society such as it existed both before and after the Revolution. But he also believes that power (like solitude) is not merely a state but a choice and a conquest, and that only he is powerful who by his own will and energy knows how to make himself so. In the Reality Principe, human beings have suffered too much from the moral teachings of the Church and the ethic statements of the Royalty; the id recesses to the ego, which make balance between the id and the superego. For Sade, his own happiness is more important than anything since pain inflicted by the authorities is no way out and he has to liberate his thoughts with writings. The language is Sade’s weapon against the authorities. The authorities always repress people’s voice and teach what they should think and say; they cannot allow the power to be taken over by people. But Sade has the power to choose being his own Master, no matter how the authorities are powerful and restricted.
Although Sade understands the power of Nature can be destructive, he has great passion to embrace Nature. His embrace will eliminate the boundaries between the self and the other. The absolute egoist is he who is able to transform everything disagreeable into something likeable, everything repugnant into something attractive. Like the bedroom philosopher, he declares : “ I love everything, I enjoy everything, my desire is to commingle all kinds and contraries.” And this is why Sade, in his Les 120 Journées, has set himself the gigantic task of drawing up the complete inventory of anomalies and aberrations, listing very kind of human possibility. In order to be at the mercy of nothing, it was necessary for him to experience everything. Sade: ‘You shall know nothing if you have not known everything, and if you are timid enough to stop with what is nature, Nature will elude your grasp forever.’ For surviving, he has to ‘mise en scène’ destruction to others. Repetitively, massacre in large quantity proves his power. For Sadean heroes, nothing should be shameful; nothing moral can bind them up. He condemns God as nothing, so that he can transgress everything interdictory.
Accused of pornographic writer, Sade’s eroticism is a dream eroticism, since it expresses itself almost exclusively in fiction; but the more this eroticism is imagined, the more it requires a fiction from which dream is exclude, a fiction wherein debauchery can be enacted and lived), and although Sade does however, and in an exceptional sense, exalt the imaginary, it is because he is wonderfully well aware of the fact that basis for many an imperfect crime is some impossible crime that only the imagination can comprehend. If Sade’s filthy thoughts were kept in private and release themselves for pleasure, Sade wouldn’t be retained in jail for most of his lifetime. Issued publicly, Sade discloses the darkest side of human consciousness, widening the horizon of the public onVice, renounced by the Church for several hundred years in the name of God. The rebellious child despises God totally, for he takes over the power of Nature. Sade is the ‘superman’ that Nietzsche called. This superman may be regarded as a tragic hero since his struggle ends with the Bastille prison. Actually, Sade never fails his ideological revolution, which influences the development of Western modern philosophy, literature, and history of art, inspiring Lautréamont, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Artaud, Freud, Lacan, Dali, and Švankmajer. As Man Ray (1890-1976) illustrated Sade as his own projected image of the Bastille Prison, such a representation means that Sade’s free spirit is released and even becomes the Bastille itself. Sade is not the victim of the history of being repressed, but the savior of the history of being repressed. As Michel Foucault points out, ‘ Sadism is not a name finally given to a practice as old as Eros, but a massive cultural fact which appeared precisely at the end of the eighteenth century and which constitutes one of the greatest conversions of Western imagination.’ 
The ‘syndromes’ of sadism and masochism were coined by nineteenth- century German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) in his study Psychopathia Sexualis (1885). He drew from his definitions from the names of Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895). Sade’s work contains a phenomenal catalogue of acts of sexually motivated torture and cruelty, while Sacher-Masoch’s most famous work Venus in Furs (1869) is the story of a young man, Severin, desperate to be enslaved to a cold, domineering, cruel mistress. People might doubt how children could have sexual consciousness of their own bodies, and pose a question such as ‘ Is sexuality a transcendental experience?’ Based on Freud’s ‘On Narcissism’, Lacan developed his most important theory ‘ mirror stage’, in which he argued that an infant will bear an aggressive narcissism on his body, for an infant fantasizes its own body with the fragmented images in the Imaginary. He only can picture its whole body through the mirror, but recognizes this mirror image mistakenly as someone else. The infant keeps on making body dialectics between the fragmented image and the complete mirror image; later he recognizes the image in the mirror is namely his own. Before this identity process has been done, the infant takes aggressive attitude to imagine its body to be attacked. Lacan describes the degree of “aggressive disintegration” that torments the inchoate ego in “the form of disjointed limbs, or of those organs represented in exoscopy, growing wings and taking up arms for intestinal persecutions”. For Lacan, aggression is a derivative of the death drive while aggressivity is the acting out of aggression through the Symbolic and Imaginary orders. In ‘Něco z Alenky’, Švankmajer shows this concept that Alice is attacked by the Bosch-like creatures commanded by White Rabbit while she intrudes a toy house. Drinking liquid, she transforms again her body in large scale, which the toy house cannot accommodate. Alice crouches awkwardly her own body, viewing outside the window with an image of her head. She tries to stretch her hand out of the window to push the climbing White Rabbit off the ladder. She even talks to herself, ‘I hope I haven’t forgot how to kick’. These words may give a hint that she gets uncanny feeling about her body in large scale, moreover, which is pressed under this tiny roof. Finally, the stones White Rabbit throws onto her turn into tarts, so Alice can get away from the uncanny body after eating a tart.
The idea of cannibalism is in parallels with the sadomasochist treatment to Alice’s body. Consciously or not, Alice follows after White Rabbit and takes a marvelous but cruel journey, filled with cannibalistic ceremony: being consumed by the desk drawer (masochism), taking potions, tarts, mushrooms to oscillate between body transformations (sadomasochism). Alice plays the magical game repeatedly and acquires pleasure. Freud’s repetition theory might explain this behavior. Inspired by ‘ fort-da’ game, an infant finds out that mother is absent and then gets uneasy, but for a moment she comes back, infant turns uneasiness into pleasure. When this condition occurs repeatedly, baby learns mother will be back. Baby just goes through small pain about mother’s absence; then baby will receive more pleasure than pain. Taking the two extremes (pleasure/pain , Eros/Thanatos, Sadism/Masochism) as a must for life, cannibalism is no more inhuman massacre, but the human sacrificial ceremony to continue the sustainable life for the world spinning around (as the belief in Aztec civilization).
Švankmajer employs the idea of repetition in the structure of his fantastic like the eternal return. From the first scene in Alice’s cabin, which hints that Alice expects the Wonderland experience, she knows White Rabbit will escape from her, or attack her, but she still wants to follow him. Repetition happens in the scene with the Mad Tea Party. Mad Hatter and Mad March Hare keep on shouting ‘No room! No room!’ to Alice, but Alice still joins them to have some tea. (‘ No room’ means that Alice doesn’t belong to this world?) Mad Hatter demands a clean cup, so he keeps on changing the seat around the table. Mad Hare and Alice follow his movement to change another seat beside him. Made of wood, Mad Hatter flows out the tea he drinks. He never stops his drinking, for the tea is always leaking off. So does Mad March Hare: his left eye always looses, and his body functions by fixing the spring. The Hare puts butter on watch for functioning, and eats the butter pressed out of watch cover. This repetition calls the end till the Mad Hatter hangs seven watches on his body, and no more cleans cups to drink. Such repetition discloses the substance of our everyday life. From void to fullness, presence to absence, the impulse we acquire from the desire to overcome the lack. George Bataille (1897-1962) had deep insight in the Sadean philosophy, that human life has no absolute rupture from this life, different from the conventional idea about life and death. Metaphysically, life can be regarded as many small circles of life and death. Human beings experience the anxiety of castration complex, just like being released and return to the embrace of earth. After this little death, he will regain the energy of life and launch another circle of life and death. Repetition employed in art creation can evoke the infantile imagination through the sadomasochism of life instinct and death instinct.
The rule of repetition calls for the recovering power. As long as the creatures in the Wonderland get wounded or the Wonderland itself is intruded by Alice, Švankmajer cures the wounds by sewing with the needles and threads (the cuts in White Rabbit’s hand, the rupture on lizard-like Bill’s body, or the closed eye of the sleeping Caterpillar), or by filming with stop-motions (Alice breaks out the bucket, falling into another space). This recovering power is as magical as the transforming power on the body scale of Alice. These two powers belong to the Real, to the fantasy that the viewers cannot live in, but desire for. The image of sewing wounds is imposed on the puppet, not so shocking as the famous image of slicing the eye in the surrealist film ‘ Chien Andalou’, for the latter is presented the eye of a girl, which montages with a cow’s instead. The eyes of viewers are masochistically wounded by this violent image; inversely, Švankmajer arouses sadistically the viewers’ imagination to make them believe the magical curing power.
The sadomasochism of Alice’s body allows the viewers to have a marvelous visionary journey, but not take pity for Alice’s sufferance. The viewers understand well that this is a fantasy created by Švankmajer’s deployment of a live actress, a china doll and a huge paper puppet. For Carroll’s readers, the story about Alice’s body transformation parallels the imagination of Lewis Carroll and Alice. Alice is the incarnation of Lewis Carroll in the fantasy literature, going beyond the Pleasure principle. In The Sublime Object of Ideology, Slavoj Žižek explained that fantasy is a solution for artists to deal with hot-potato questions:
Fantasy functions as a construction, as an imaginary scenario filling out of void, the opening of the desire of the Other: by giving us a definite answer to the question: “ What does the Other want? ,” it enables us to evade the unbearable deadlock in which the Other wants something from us, but we are at the same time incapable of translating this desire of the Other into a positive interpellation, into a mandate with which to identify.
On one hand, Lewis Carroll resists against time and wants to enjoy the childhood pleasure through the avatar of ‘Alice’; on the other hand, he confronts the prudery moral enhancement of returning to innocence by the Victorian authorities and hides his subversive idea from criticism.
With the expertise of mathematics and psychics, Carroll codifies his characters and the events; his readers may not notice it and even decode it. When Švankmajer adapts Carroll’s text, the decodification is not his task. What matters to a creator is the inner spirituality. For Švankmajer, the fantastic is a way to discover the profound human nature under the rationalist repression and unleash his subversive ideas behind the uncanny scenarios. As Švankmajer mentioned that creative force is an erotic arousal, this idea might give him great influence on how he expresses his thoughts in his animations. As Švankmajer has the sadomasochism mise en scène, he rehearsals his own violence implicitly with the marionettes, objects around a live actor/ actress, like a child alone in a room, talking to his inanimate playmates (toy, dolls, objects, etc.). Švankmajer’s solitude might not equal to this child’s, for he experienced the subjectivisation and intended to express his liberal, critical thoughts to attack the authorities he faced. The animate/ inanimate violence is the weapon that the artist can master. Švankmajer’s solitude is not to be understood as the ideological revolution, but as a trick for children. His ideas must be expressed in the democratic country, where his voice is no more silent, able to be heard without any misunderstanding.
Nevertheless, for Alice as a child, that everyone can have this growing experience, tries to build up relations with the other. The relations might be erotic, that child regards the other as a love object to imagine the oneness with it. In Death and Sexuality, Bataille wrote that eroticism results from the yearning to transcend the boundaries of the isolated individual by merging passionately into a predifferentiated oneness.  The sense of oneness originates from the prenatal experience that an embryo in maternal body enjoys the ocean-like jubilance. The embryo with mother has no sense of subjectivity. Even a baby born out of maternal body holds the trauma of birth, refusing to cut the umbilical cord of mother. He doesn’t want to be alone in the world. The solitude might be uncanny, so that the impulse to go back to his prenatal home (mother’s womb) will be his desire for all his life. Being oneness, a child will free his imagination to animate the inanimate objects around him. This might be uncanny for an adult, but psychologically necessary for a child. The secondary narcissism projects the self onto these objects, bursting out many ‘I’. ‘I’ may become the opposite self, not-‘I’. Object relations theorists argue that the character of one’s first contact with others in childhood plays a formative role in fostering sadomasochistic propensities. In contrast to Freud, who stressed sexual and aggressive drives and instincts and linked sadomasochism to conflicts deriving from the oedipal stages of development, object relations theorists conceptualized the pre-oedipal period as most central to the development of later sadomasochistic tendencies. After the repetitive dialectics, ‘I’ and not-‘I’ must reach to a consensus that ‘I’ and not-‘I’ both belong to the subject, and none can be negated the value of its existence. Without someone else legitimizing my existence by recognizing and acknowledging me, the unimaginable would occur: “ I” as a separate person would have no meaning and would feel alone terrifyingly alone. I might experience emptiness so profound as to feel as though I no longer exist. In order to be, properly speaking. Alive, an individual must thus relate and feel connected to others and consequently to the social world) in such a way that brings recognition of the self and the not-self, “ me” and those who are “not-me”. This connection is by no means of casual import: literally as well as figuratively, it may be experienced as a life-and-death matter. 
Rather than the psychoanalytical point of view, Michel Foucault thinks about sadomasochism in a more political way:
One can say that sadomasochism is the eroticization of power, the eroticization of strategic relations. What strikes me with regard to S/M is how it differs from social power. What characterized power is the fact that it is a strategic relation that has been stabilized through institutions. So the mobility in power relations has been limited, and there are strongholds that are very, very difficult to suppress because they have been institutionalized and are now very pervasive…All that means that the strategic relations of power are made rigid. On this point, the sadomasochism game is very interesting because they it is a strategic relation, but it is always fluid.
So the sadomasochistic imagination was inaugurated as a strategy –one perhaps derious of and/ or compelled to work through, subjectivity subjected to increasing microtechnologies of surveillance, control and coercion.  Dealing with the violence of sadomasochism, John Noyes observes social relations as a ritual or performance and proposes that sadomasochism is not an expression of violence, it is socially determined strategy for dealing with violence, a set of codified performances and rituals. These rituals play on the violence inherent in the social codification of subjectivity, dramatizing the moments when this violence becomes visible. If we are to understand sadomasochistic performances, we have to map them onto the landscape of social conventions they are intended to negotiate. 
Be your own Master!
In the journey of exploring the world, infant possesses the instinct to touch with hand, and to consume with mouth. In ‘Něco z Alenky’, Alice has a great battle with those weird creatures; while White Rabbit intends to trap Alice in the pot full of milk, she appears suddenly within a huge puppet, and Alice breaks through the paper puppet as if butterfly rushed out of cocoon. The relations between the ‘real’ body and its primitive synthetic creation in the guise of a puppet or marionette demonstrate the body’s resistance to become automata. Playing out tensions between functions and performance, Svankmajer reveals how utilitarian notions of control could be subverted by the spontaneous art of performance, using the live action “ body” to reject the rigidity and limits of its representation as automata. She told herself in mind, ‘ No more cake this time’. Since then, she has the free will to decide what she should do. This change can also be seen in the following scene: Caterpillar discloses Alice the secret of mushroom, ‘ one side can make you grow, the other side will make you shrink’. Alice chooses to consume a mushroom to examine Caterpillar’s indication, but not to touch it or in other sensual behavior. When she eats it, the transformation doesn’t work anymore on herself, but the tree in front of her. Alice is no more an object, but forms the subject’s consciousness gradually. Alice uses her imagination to launch the sadomasochist relations with objects in the Wonderland; the strategic relations that Foucault accounts function here. Alice shifted the passive role of White Rabbit’s follower to active position of manipulating objects. Alice engages sadistically the external world with mushroom to manipulate the scale of trees and toy house, instead of transforming her body masochistically.
The theme of consuming is much more important in Švankmajer’s ‘ Něco z Alenky’ than in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Švankmajer’s Alice might explore this Wonderland by the instinct of consuming, but absolutely not for nutrition, rather than escape from her current situation. This magical land seduces Alice continuously with edibles: potion, tart appears suddenly in the desk drawer; the stones with which White Rabbit attacks Alice turn into tarts. Whenever Alice meets the difficulties, she consumes the food the Wonderland brings about and solves the problem of physical impossibility. A child intends to grow up like an adult, who can do anything as he wishes, but only a tiny child can break in such a fanciful world. Alice becomes a china doll in small size, equal to the scale of the creatures in the Wonderland. Nevertheless, White Rabbit mistakes Alice as his servant Mary Ann; Alice is menaced by the violent attacks of the weird creatures. It seems that Alice allows the magical power of the Wonderland on her own body willingly. The power makes Alice to play the role of servant, but Alice denies White Rabbit’s calling. The self-identity of Alice is awakened at this moment. Taking a role of master instead, Alice shows her active attitude to the forthcoming events in the Wonderland.
The idea of the double is obvious shown in Švankmajer’s ‘ Něco z Alenky’. The director employs a china doll, a live actress, and a huge puppet to present the image of Alice. When Alice shifts beingness among them, she tries to search for her own ideal-ego. Alice denied that beingness as long as she can’t overcome the difficulties. Through repetitive denials, Alice found self-identity to satisfy who she is. The double she beats is the shadow she wants to get rid of. Although Švankmajer presents a scene in the debut with Alice sitting by the river, he has no intention to correspond literally to Lacan’s ‘ Mirror Stage’ theory, showing the narcissistic reflection of Alice on river. Lacan’s infant doesn’t recognize the image of the self, but the image of the other instead. In a fairytale, a hero usually gets into a fantasyland through a mirror, or the enclosed closet. Švankmajer arranges the common cabin where Alice lives to emphasize the idea that the canniest thing happens in our daily life, explored by the untamed eyes. Using imagination, Alice confronts her own double and the creature she makes up.
In the Wonderland, White Rabbit always says, ‘ I shall be late !’ What is he worried about? In the end, we find out that he serves the court of the magical kingdom and worries about being late for the Queen’s Party. No matter White Rabbit does harm to Alice, she still goes after him and says ‘ Sir, please’. White Rabbit represents the signifier of the lack in the Real, seducing Alice to meet her desire –knowledge, to build up her own relationship with external world. Formally, Alice receives the wordless invitation to Queen’s party, and then she views the cruel and unreasonable scene of the court life – dual or killing. As Queen gets unpleased, she commands ‘ Off with their heads!’ all the time. White Rabbit executed those named by Queen with his big scissor as Queen’s slaughterman. Švankmajer creates the images of court members by poker cards: Queen, King, Knights, etc. Queen asks Alice to play croquet with her. Alice holds the card image of flamingo as a croquet pole to play with sewing-kit ball, but later turning into a hedgehog, and flamingo-pole into a live chicken. Then Alice is accused of eating the tarts by Queen and King, and is forced to respond all the questions according to the text that White Rabbit gave her. Alice cannot have her own voice in this court, and all the judge members composed of the puppets (Mad Hatter, Mad March Hare, etc.). With puppet images, Švankmajer implies the meaning of manipulation and blindness under the threat of the authorities, that they agree with Queen’s paranoiac decision ‘ off with their heads!’. Nevertheless, Alice denies what Queen and King accuse of – eating Queen’s tarts. First of all, Alice refuses to respond their inquiry according to the textbook White Rabbit gave her. She doesn’t want to make any apology, because she thinks nothing wrong she did. Queen and King are furious at her negation, and still sentence her to death. So the castration complex arouses as Alice enters the royal palace to meet Queen and King. Once she meets the Symbolic, the behavior she did might not be regarded reasonable. Since then, she feels the power of transgression to negate all the authorities accuses of. Keeping on shaking her head, Alice is finally awakened from her dream. In the end, Alice only can find White Rabbit’s scissor in the glass box, and reminds us, ‘ He is late as usual. I think I’ll cut his head off’. She becomes the heroine to terminate the Medusa’s head, overcoming her castration complex. Alice is not anymore that innocent girl before meeting the Wonderland, she is a conqueror over her fantasy.
The Absence of ‘Cheshire Cat’
In ‘Něco z Alenky’, there is no character of ‘ Cheshire Cat’, which plays a very important role in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, unpleasant to many inhabitants of Wonderland. With a grin smile, Cheshire Cat is the only companion friendly to Alice and always gives advices to her the direction in the Wonderland through nonsensical dialogues. Cheshire Cat reminds Alice of her own cat Dinah, comforting her solitude. Jan Švankmajer intends to enforce Alice’s lonely battle against self-destruction before forming self-identity. In addition, he may consider Czech children might not recognize British cultural meaning for such a cat. Harold Bloom states, ‘ That ontological grin is the emblem of the Cheshire Cat’s madness, and is the prelude to the Mad Tea Party of the next chapter, which in turns is emblematical of the Alice books, since they can be described, quite accurately, as a mad tea party, rather than a nonsensical tea party.’ Lionel Trilling spoke of ‘ the world of nonsense, the curious invention of the English of the nineteenth century, of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear,’ and confessed that, critically, nonsense seemed to him inexplicable: ‘ One of the mysteries of art, perhaps as impenetrable as why tragedy gives pleasure, is why nonsense commands so fascinated an attention, and why, when it succeeds, it makes more than sense.’  Rather than nonsense, Jan Švankmajer created the mad Wonderland into which infuses his own sarcasm, the projection of his living world. Without right to give voice, such a world is inhuman but full of absurdness.
And, perhaps most significant for the Alice books, Michel Foucault, in Madness and Civilization, argues that the nineteenth-century conception of a person judged insane appropriated the unfortunate individual to the status of childhood. Madness came to be regarded as a corollary of failed development, rather than a condition of animality, as it had been in the eighteenth century. This was yet another way of equating the child and the adult in the period; it meant no special protection, no in loco parentis, on the part of institutions. For children, equal treatment to adults means unequal condition. They are forced to adapt to adulthood earlier, without any shelter to take care of, probably exploited by this capitalist world. In consequence, children lose their precious imagination, exhausted with the struggle from the miserable world. It is understandable why the Victorian authorities preached society with the idea of innocence, although children’s imagination is not taken into their political consideration. The absence of ‘ Cheshire Cat’ is the presence of the problem that Jan Švankmajer cares about children’s imagination. With the description of Lewis Carroll, Cheshire Cat supposes to accompany Alice in the woods, finding the direction to the Tea Party, or to show up as the illusion of floating cat head above the air while confronting Queen’s unreasonable demand ‘ Off with the head!’ Jan Švankmajer decapitated ‘ Cheshire Cat’ as a humane sadist in his adaptation to Carroll’s literature to highlight the crisis of the lack – infantile imagination in his century.
Who is this Alice?
Jan Švankmajer beloved Lewis Carroll’s fantasy literature since his childhood. This character ‘Alice’ and what she meets later on will thrill audience on the threshold to the mentality of subversion. Talking about the sadomasochism of infantile imagination in Švankmajer’s animation ‘Něco z Alenky’, we must get clear this infantile imagination in this film belongs to Švankmajer, even he adapted from Lewis Carroll’ masterpiece, written in the Victorian period. For Carroll, nostalgia for childhood is “ a means of detachment and retreat from the adult world” in the poem at the end of Through the Looking-Glass. This nostalgia derives from the impulse of returning back to mother’s womb, for Carroll senses that this adult world he lives in without any innocence that the Victorian Authorities advocates. With the help of the role of ‘Alice’ and Alice Liddell, Carroll fled to a child world to compensate his nostalgia. ‘Victorian Child Cult’ is a prevailing phenomenon at his time, so a child nude with the image of cupid or angel can be viewed in the Victorian Christmas cards as a representation of innocence. So it is unfair to criticize Lewis as a paedophile for his child nude photography, absolutely detached from the historical context. Owing to the physical defect (stammer, asymmetrical physical form, etc.), he might have psychological obstacles to enter adult society. Giving lectures at school, he rather remains himself in a child world, not suffering the harsh judgment of the society.
As ‘Něco z Alenky’ was completed in 1988, the first opposition demonstration was permitted to take place in Prague, foretelling the forthcoming ‘Velvet Revolution’. Švankmajer created ‘Něco z Alenky’ to express his inner necessity, the will to create. On the contrary, Švankmajer doesn’t believe the innocence remains in children world; children have ability to sense the uncanny in our everyday life. What Švankmajer believes is necessary to replay children game, escaping from the censorship and recalling the trauma of spiritual imprisonment he experienced during his artistic career. Not only ‘Neco z Alenky’, ‘ Jabberwokcy’ and ‘ Down to the cellar’ are also referred to Švankmajer’s childhood experiences. Reality, dream, and memory fuse together here. Children’s world is full of toys, and their excessive energy needs to be discharged in fictional plays. As Freud notes, the uncanniness of the inanimate objects is often deflected in children’s tales through explicitly fantasy scenarios or through humor. Living in such a suffocating political atmosphere, Švankmajer has to learn how to humor himself, to desublimate everything irrational to achieve the sublime. In the fantastic, Švankmajer wants to create the dystopia to mock the absurd existence and violent crime of totalitarian regime. If Lewis Carroll intends to build his utopia of innocence, Švankmajer is more radical to see through the fact of this unrepresentable ideal. As Harold Bloom pointed out, ‘ Wonderland is clearly no utopia, as a number of critics have insisted, but rather quickly assumes the same illogical and estrangement as the realm in which most human exist.’  Carroll and Švankmajer both give the fluid representation of Wonderland with their own imagination: Carroll describes it with rhetoric, alternating literal nonsense. In visual representation, Švankmajer employs his will to create to treat the characters of Carroll’s text sadomasochistically , so that he can make the id beyond the Pleasure Principle to accentuate the very importance of White Rabbit in Švankmajer’s interpretation, to delete the role of Cheshire Cat, and neglect the implication of the flamingo’s name ‘Dodo’ to Charles Lutwidge Dodgon. Švankmajer shows no interests in nonsense as well, influenced by the mime performing style of the marionette theatre. The fluidity of metamorphose he creates is the achievement of the montage technique, transitions of shots, and artistic integration of collage/decollage.
Švankmajer talked about the inspiration from writers (such as Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allen Poe):
My relationship to these authors has always been based on memories of my personal experiences from ‘meeting them’. My memory in this respect is very selective. Therefore seemingly secondary, insubstantial circumstances play a considerable part in my interpretations of their works. Instead of objective, reverent adaptations I create subjective testimonies where the original author plays the role of some kind of detonator for a personal explosion. Despite this, I think that, with their inner sense, my subjective interpretations of Poe or Carroll swim in the same subterranean waters. For it is a question of capturing an identical world, its horror, dreams and infantilism.
The relationship between the animated images and the original text is quite close in spirit, but distant in aesthetics (uncanny for Švankmajer, classical for Carroll). Švankmajer actually found her heroine Kristýna Kohoutová extremely similar to Alice Lidell’s appearance and disposition, with blond hair instead. Švankmajer framed the mouth of ‘Alice’ as voice over, with the sense of ‘reading my lips’. In the style of postmodern cinema, Švankmajer employed montage to differentiate the filmic narrative and the meta-narrative. The former is how Švankmajer subjectively adapted Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’; the latter is the dialogue of the roles in this fantasy, represented only with the image of Alice’s moving mouth. This mouth could be of Lewis Carroll, also probably be of Švankmajer, or of any reader. As Lewis Carroll created the role ‘Alice’ in model of Alice Lidell, his creativity was set free through the paragraphs of the text. By means of Alice’s mouth, he said what he could not say. The authorities thought it’s for children, doing no harm. So did Švankmajer, moreover, he found puppetry as a form of shelter, a familiar cultural heritage for Czech people. Frame by frame, he disrupt the continuation of images by stop-motions, rapid editing, close-up. Švankmajer accentuates objects with the idea of ‘thing-in-itself’, showing abstract patterns of decay and strong tactile qualities. Combing the virtuous artistry of film and theater, Švankmajer uses montage technique and the stage-like setting to extend the viewers’ spatial imagination:
All my adaptations of classical literary works are not adaptations in the real sense of the word but purely an author’s interpretation (interpretation as a creative activity). This also applies for Poe, Alice and Faust. I do not follow the objective of the author but I follow my own. I am not interested in “ what the author wanted to say by this” but purely in how far a particular motif relates been part of my life, without regard to the fact that someone else thought them up. 
In ‘Něco z Alenky’, Švankmajer brings his imagination in full play, especially on these aggressive activities: the birds pecking Alice’s head, two birds uphold a bed as if the bed with wings is flying above the air, or White Rabbit prepares a huge pot with milk as a trap for Alice; as Alice turns into a huge puppet, the weird animals riding chariot drag her on the floor as the torture of dismembered alive. Out of his incredible imagination, Švankmajer creates the fanciful scene of a mouse cooking on Alice’s head just like an islet and cutting Alice’s hair as grass burnt for cooking. Like Dali’s paranoiac-criticism, Švankmajer takes the object lesson of metamorphoses subjectively: the bread with nails, baby monsters out of eggs, live worms out of a can, meat walking out from the pot, or key within a can; sewing kits turning into hedgehog. Entering a room full of holes on the floor, Alice takes a curious look at a hole as a voyeur to see if a socking dwells inside as a worm. When a moving sock is stepped carelessly by Alice, she breathes air into it and it comes into life instantly. After one of worms takes out a set of false teeth and false eyes, it turns into the Caterpillar.
No matter how different the author of the original and the film adaptor show in the formal expression, their work of art has the projection of the self. Carroll’s Alice continuously asks ‘who am I?’ to remind herself of not losing her own identity. Such an inquiry is so literal, no such proposition happens in Švankmajer’s animation to interfere the perceptions of viewers. This intention is also obvious in the scenario with Alice’s consumption, indicating ‘Drink me,’ or ‘Eat me’ in Carroll’s text, but not in Švankmajer’s work. Questioning self-identity, Carroll might be bothered by the Other’s assailing on his sexual child nudity. Independent upon the Other’s expectation, Carroll is faithful to his favorite subject matter – children. Flight into his rabbit-hole fantasy, Carroll enjoys the pleasure of the Real without the secular worries, but still hiding the codes and showing his castration complex when meeting Queen of Heart.
In the case of Carroll, the journey in the Wonderland is a dream work that he has something to tell to the authorities, to the public, but Queen of Heart ends only with “Off with their head”. The creation of artistic products, according to Freud, is a ‘phantasizing’ activity which provides man with compensation fro having renounced instinctive gratification . In Švankmajer’s animation, the repetitive line the Queen of Heart recites is “Off with the head”. With more absurd sense, Švankmajer doesn’t create his animations in the mechanism of dreamwork, but in the reflection of his everyday life. Švankmajer takes the aggressive attitude, but latent expression to the Communist regime and totalitarianism. His Alice transforms into his shield to protect himself from the threat, and gives a portrayal of the director’s life experience – even body bound by the restricted space, but the subversive spirituality is as free as a bird. This apprehension should go through the dialectic process of the life instinct and the death instinct. The sexual instinct enjoys the power to master, so inflicting pain on the other brought the energy to live; the death instinct desires to be manipulated by the other, which inflict pain on the self, as a great pleasure. The sadomasochist pleasure is mutual, but cold and absurd. As Švankmajer’s Alice acts as a faceless doll, or kinetic automata, she takes all the external menaces, as it should be. Alice is obsessed with disclosing everything she can for she is afraid of something hidden. White Rabbit seduces her to launch this journey, which puts her in uncertain situation. Resigning herself to adversity, Alice is willing to try anything to go on this journey, so she consumes magical potion, tarts to treat her body sadomasochistically. In fact, Alice is a double child: sometime herself, sometime incarnated under the traits of Alice Liddell, in the narrative of Lewis Carroll, or the Alice of Kristina Kohoutova with Švankmajer. Švankmajer’s viewers cannot tell the boundaries of the character, mingled together into the image, which makes them feedback with their secondary creation in their mind. The childhood memory of viewers will be recalled by Švankmajer’s ‘Něco z Alenky’, enduring the uncanny trauma of sadomasochist imagination.
Uncovering Alice’s Cabin of Curiosity
In ‘Něco z Alenky’, the cabin Alice lives in is not a sweet home with cozy air, but a home unlike a home. It shows the features of encasement of Švankmajer’s marionette theatre, and of estrangement of closet of curiosities. Just as Freudian concept of ‘The Uncanny’, literally in German, the word ‘Unheimlich’ means ‘unhomely’, the uncanny feeling gives viewers unlike at home even living in his familiar house. In Das Unheimliche (1914), Freud concludes: ‘ … an uncanny experience occurs either when infantile complexes which have been repressed are once more revived by some impression, or when primitive beliefs which have been surmounted seem once more to be confirmed.’  The anxiety catalyzes this uncanny feeling. With the inner vision, viewers can see something hidden behind the common things. We can observe a child used to open drawers to make sure of nothing hiding inside, scared of being consumed by the closet. Freud compares the human body as a closet, a home, containing our unconscious, so Salvador Dali makes ‘ Venus de Milo with Drawers’ (1936), originated from the wrong interpretation of Edward James’ chest of drawers. For 1939 World’s Fair in New York , Dali designed the Surrealist Funhouse ‘ Dream of Venus’ in the organic form of female body. A womb-like curving space is dark, gloomy and wet, embodying Surrealist point of view in the unconscious as female body, giving viewers erotic associations, evoking the prenatal experience, similar to the unconscious. This kind of female spatial impression and concept can be given successfully in Švankmajer’s Wonderland.
Švankmajer employed the collage method in mélange of external space and internal space. The initial scenario happens at outdoors when Alice sits with her elder sister reading by the river; afterwards the frame comes out with the image of Alice’s mouth declaring the story starts now. The main scene is processing in the cabin of Alice, the shot is taken suddenly outside, showing the desk White Rabbit run towards under the bright sky. The sense of spatial ambiguity might be evoked since then. Being consumed by the desk drawer as White Rabbit penetrates it. Instead of rabbit hole, Alice falls into a tunnel-like, or intestines-like enclosed space. The falling process accelerates and Alice breaks into another dimensional space. She starts to experience the body transformation journey as long as she wants to disclose what is behind the door. The large door contains another tiny door for the scale of creatures in the Wonderland. Alice views White Rabbit rowing a boat, under the background sound of sea waves. Švankmajer intends to create the outside scene in the cabin, as he did for marionette theatre. Unlimited by the natural laws, time and space can be manipulated freely as the director manages to. Therefore, the setting-like screen with the image of seascape the can be installed outside at will. When Alice enters the scene (physically break through the scene), she bursts into another inner space. With the deployment of frames, each viewer constructs his own imagination about the ambiguous space of Wonderland itself.
Extending Alice’s fantasy journey, obviously showing the fragmented body when she is trapped in a cage-like dollhouse. The body is too big for the room, yet is compassed as if a foetus in a womb; after drinking potion her body is as if exploded out of house. The images of fragmented body also presented as a narrative form of animation. Švankmajer frames the image of Alice’s mouth narrating the scenario to montage into the animation. This kind of treatment disturbs the fluid development of the scenario, but highlights the conceptual part of the director. Švankmajer subtracts the essential messages from Lewis Carroll, which clearly shows Alice’s inner thoughts with language. Inserting these fragmented images, Švankmajer fraps the vision of viewers to make them sense the awkwardness of an infant confronting the rupture among the Imaginary (visionary), the Real (somatic), the Symbolic (linguistic). However, the fragmented body cannot be misunderstood as Hans Bellmer’s mutilated dolls, or misogyny from the feminist point of view. In the case of Carroll or Švankmajer taking a female infant as heroin is not the a gender issue, as sadomasochism is not a pornographic scenario.
The actress Kristina narrates the words without any emotion as the neutral narrator. Rare expressions are shown on Alice’s face, and even on her body movement, similar to a china doll, or automata. As she is indulged in the flood caused by her tears, it seems that she pretend to cry and show no panic in the flood. In another condition, Alice laughs out covering the hands, she looks like acting. Švankmajer’s Alice falls into the traumatic land, being cold or pretentious for self-protection. In praise of Surrealist uncanny aesthetics, Švankmajer arranges sound effects made by objects in everyday life: kitchen utensils, furniture, nutrition, etc. Unlike the melodious background music of Disney version, the sound effects here are extremely harsh to the ear. This shows another type of attacking Alice, to the viewers. Agreeable melodies made by human being, but uncanny kinetic sounds caused by inanimate objects. Švankmajer attacks his audience both visually and auditorily.
Losing body autonomy, Alice’s human body becomes a ‘thing’, an object which shrinks, extends, transforms from one dimension to another. Alice longs for a fixed shape: her quest is to return to her original ‘known’ self, for she is divorced from her body, protected from time and from social relations, terrified of change. Empson sees this as a fear of sexuality and of death: the consequences of accepting the ‘body’ as self  The aggressive activity is to attack viewers with disrupted images, unpleased sound effects; or the aggressive objects to hurt Alice like scissors; for White Rabbit scissors are important, they show up repetitively in the Wonderland. This is the Oedipus complex Alice reveals; she tries to fight against the castration. Eventually, when Alice wakes up, she finds White Rabbit’s scissors leave in her reality and cannot threat her any more.
The most subversive ideas should be borne whenever or wherever the violence exists. Tracing back to childhood memories, Jan Švankmajer believes that cruelty comes to an infant’s mind as in nature. In vain, protecting children from the evil, the authorities exercise the power to restraint sexual seductions; they don’t get any clue that erotic arousal roots in every artist’s imagination. With making believe technique, Švankmajer plays children games ritually in his ‘fantastic documentaries’. ‘Něco z Alenky’ coagulates Švankmajer’s infantile imagination to express his subversive ideas against the authorities, which intends to control human thoughts according to the moral and ethical principles. During Czechoslovakian Communism, the repression Švankmajer went through drives him towards the fantasy of marionette theatre, with the alchemy inspired by Mannerist Prague. The sadomasochist treatments are ubiquitous in his animations: object relations, camera work, sound effect, and montage technique, etc. The fantasy is that the Other in the Symbolic cannot penetrate. Belonging to the Real, the fantasy can recall the trauma of the subject, and allow the subject to conquer over the Other. The power is presented here in the form of violence. Similar to Sadean literature, this violence is poetic and erotic in Švankmajer, but with more grotesque sense for this happens ritually in our everyday life. As a theatre director, Švankmajer has this violence mise en scène, making viewers to think about the sadomasochism not in an ethic point of view, but to recognize it is the nature of the object relations, the essential feature of imaginative force. Uncovering Alice’s cabin of curiosities, Švankmajer leads viewers to create the self with this violence; in the viewers’ imagination might wander the omnipotence of erotic arousal, the alienated body will break from socio-cultural codification of the Other, the self identify will comes out to the light of freedom.
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 Peter Hames, ‘ Interview with Jan Švankmajer’, in Dark alchemy: The Films of Jan Švankmajer (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1995), p.108.
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 Karmen MacKendrick, Counterpleasures (State University of New York Press, 1999), p. 14.
 Peter Hames, ‘ Interview with Jan Švankmajer’, in Dark alchemy: The Films of Jan Švankmajer (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1995), p. 107.
 Harold Bloom(ed.), Lewis Carroll (New York: Chelsea House, 1987), p. 5.
 Elizabeth Wright and Edmond Wright (ed.),‘Fantasy as a political Category: A Lacanian Approach’, in The Žižek Reader (Blackwell Publishing, 2007), p. 87.
 Ibid., ‘ The Undergrowth of Enjoyment’ in The Žižek Reader, p.17.
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 Marquis de Sade, Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings ( New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990), p. 185.
 František Dryje, ‘ The force of imagination’, in Dark alchemy: The Films of Jan Švankmajer (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1995), p.147.
 Jack Zipes, ‘The Liberating Potential of the Fantastic in Contemporary Fairy Tales for Children’ in Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion: The Classical Genre for Children and the Process of Civilization (Routledeg, 2006), p.177 .
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 Marquis de Sade, Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings ( New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990), p. 40.
 Ibid., p. 42
 Marquis de Sade, Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings ( New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990), p. 50
 Ibid., p. 57
 Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (New York: Vintage, 1988), p. 210.
 Jon Mills, ‘Lacan on paranoiac knowledge’, in Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol 20(1), Win 2003.
 Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (New York:Verso, 1998), pp. 114-115.
 Lynn S. Chancer , Sadomasochism in everyday life : the dynamics of power and powerlessness. (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 1992), p. 70.
 Lynn S. Chancer , Sadomasochism in everyday life : the dynamics of power and powerlessness(New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 1992), p. 75.
 Ibid., pp. 70-71.
 Michel Foucault, “ Sexual choice, sexual act”, in Foucault live: Collected Interviews, 1961—1984
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 Viv Burr & Jeff Hearn(ed.), Sex, Violence and the Body: the Erotics of Wounding. (New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 132.
 John Noyes, ‘S/M in SA: Sexual violence, simulated sex and psychoanalytic theory’, in American Imago (March 1998 ), 55(1), p. 146.
 Harold Bloom (ed.), Lewis Carroll (New York: Chelsea House, 1987), p.4.
 Ibid. p.20.
 The Image of Childhood, rev. ed. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967), pp. 241, 247.
 James Donald (ed.), Fantasy and the Cinema (London : BFI Pub., 1989), p. 260.
 Jan B. Gordon, ‘ The Alice Books and the Metaphors of Victorian Childhood’, in Lewis Carroll (New York: Chelsea House, 1987), p. 21.
 Peter Hames, ‘ Interview with Jan Švankmajer’, in Dark alchemy: The Films of Jan Švankmajer (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1995), p.108.
 Ibid., p.113.
 Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: the literature of subversion (London: Methuen, 1981), p.174.
 Sigmund Freud, ‘Project for a Scientific Psychology’ in The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (London : Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1996), v. 17, p. 249.
 Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: the literature of subversion (London: Methuen, 1981), p.144.