Only clean up after I die. Portrait of Ludvík Šváb

In programme

Only clean up after I die. Portrait of Ludvík Šváb

In the Czech environment, Šváb’s films can be considered unique, as they struggle against simple categorisations. Šváb never rejected the amateur cinematography label, however he exceeded this context with his particular experimental approach, surrealist playfulness, and his expert reflection of the film medium.

Ludvík Šváb (1924-1997) worked as a scientist at the Institute of National Psychiatry, but he was also a jazzman, amateur filmmaker, and author of many film and theatre scripts and academic film theory texts. He also participated in surrealist group activity in UDS, Surrealist Group in Czechoslovakia, later in Group of Czecho-Slovak Surrealists.

There are three best known experimental films that he made: L’autre chien, which is a satirical interpretation of the film An Andalusian Dog by Luise Buñuel. Furthermore, OTT 71, which Šváb himself called “an underground actualisation of Edison’s film for kinetoscopes Fred Ott’s Sneeze. The third title is The (fully clothed) Nude Descending and (ascending) The Stairs.

However, the largest part of his filmography contains film that are private and diary-like. Especially valuable material is connected to the Surrealist Group, whose members Šváb filmed with open consistence at the opportunity of various informal moments – mostly during recreation.

The name of the block refers to the monograph of the same name (edited by Evženie Brabcová, Jiří Horníček), which should be published sometime this year.