A man who fears he's edging into madness gets a fresh perspective on what insanity really means in this frantic, visually inventive black comedy from Czech auteur Jan Svankmajer. Jean (Pavel Liska) is a deeply troubled man who has been… More A man who fears he's edging into madness gets a fresh perspective on what insanity really means in this frantic, visually inventive black comedy from Czech auteur Jan Svankmajer. Jean (Pavel Liska) is a deeply troubled man who has been haunted by violent hallucinations since the death of his mother, who was committed to a mental institution when she passed on. While arranging his mother's funeral, Jean meets a fellow inmate who claims to be the Marquis de Sade (Jan Triska), and lives as if he's in 18th Century France rather than the Czech Republic in 2005. Jean strikes up an alliance with de Sade, though they can hardly be called friends, and after becoming an unwilling accomplice to de Sade's debauchery, Jean joins him at a hospital run by Dr. Murlloppe (Jaroslav Dusek), who offers "Purgative Therapy" for people who aren't mad but could be in the future. Jean falls for a beautiful nurse named Charlota (Anna Geislerova) who claims she's being held at the hospital against her will; in time, Jean hatches a plan to liberate her and the inmates, though he learns the truth is even more disturbing than he's been led to believe. Punctuated by animated tableaux in which raw meat scampers about the screen through the magic of stop-motion animation, Lunacy (aka Sileni) was inspired in part by the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe as well as the writings of de Sade, which are quoted liberally in the film. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Consensus: A Svankmajer movie is not for everyone, but he displays his usual creative flair for surreal imagery.