His relationship with fine arts and marionettes was almost predestined. As an eight-year-old, Jan Švankmajer was given a puppet theatre by his parents (the father was arranger of store fronts, his mother a seamstress). He immediately fell in love with it and perhaps also because of that he studied at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre (DAMU), specialising in directing and scenography.
He enjoyed using a combination of puppets and actors in masks, such as also in the films Don Šajn and Lesson Faust. His short animated film Possibilities of a Dialogue placed him among the film elite. Something from Alice made his name in the world. Although his films never broke viewership records, Švankmajer is one of the world's best animators and a greatly respected Czech film maker. In February this year his last film Insect came into cinemas, which according to Švankmajer is his last feature film.
“The play The Life of the Insects is a misanthropic one. My screenplay only deepens this misanthropy, in the same way as deepens the similarity of man and insects and that of this civilisation and an anthill. One should also not forget the message of Kafka´s Transformation," says Jan Švankmajer, who admits that he obtained money for the film through an international internet collection. Fans from around the world sent the famous director finances so as to be able to finish the film. Contributions were also made by director Miloš Forman or director Guillermo del Toro.
The play of Čapek brothers The of Life of the Insects is a misanthropic one. Švankmajer´s screenplay deepens this misanthropy. "In our film, this play only creates the background to the actual story which is in its tone closer to Kafka´s Transformation than the work of the Čapek brothers. It is not supposed to be a "political" film, but an imaginative one, offering a variety of possible interpretations. This is because imagination is still the “queen of human capabilities”, as Charles Baudelaire called it," said the director.