22 June - 30 September 2012
ALICE  in the Wonderland of Art - On Film

Alice on Film


The first film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (as the first book is commonly called) was produced by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow in 1903  Alice in Wonderland, their 12-minute-long silent movie was the longest film that had been made in England to date. Since then there have been numerous cinematic incarnations of Alice, including  Tim Burton`s innovative 2010 version. The first feature-length adaptation (52 min.), which was made by  William W. Young[nbsp in 1915, is also being screened in this exhibition.

The magical imagery and anthropomorphic creatures in the Alice books have inspired countless film-makers to experiment with new techniques and devices. Walt Disney’s 1951 film is without a doubt the best-known screen version, whereby his Alice Comedies – including the short film Alice’s Wonderland  from 1923 – were an early indication of his strong interest in the subject matter. In this movie, Alice (played by Virginia Davis) appears as a live actor in an animated world.

Lewis Carroll wrote the first lines of Jabberwocky, his famous nonsense poem from Through the Looking-Glass, as early as 1855. Ambiguous portmanteau words, onomatopoeia and word associations are here skilfully combined to create an absurd and puzzling text. The similarly titled short film from 1971 by the Czech Surrealist Jan Švankmajer is an ingenious reflection of the poem’s comical and sinister aspects, using a specially devised stop-motion technique to bring inanimate objects such as dolls, toys in a nursery, a wardrobe and many other everyday items to life in a series of highly suggestive images. Rejecting a conventional narrative structure, the film merges cryptic, childlike and macabre elements to create a disturbing scenario.