Czech Republic, Slovakia


Eugene, an ageing man, leads a double life – one real, the other in his dreams. He goes to see a psychoanalyst, who tries to interpret the meaning of his dreams. Eugene finds a way of entering his dream-world at will and finds out about his childhood and what really happened to his parents. When his wife forces him to make the decision between dream and reality, he finally chooses the dream-world.

Director's Statement

Fear of life is a basic human emotion. Religion, creativity, love, sex, the accumulation of objects (that we elevate to ‘collecting’, or denigrate to ‘hoarding’), the quest for fame, money, power – such are the substitutes with which we attempt to smother that deadly fear. Fear of life is far stronger than fear of death. Witness the frequency of murders and suicides – not only real ones, but those we see every day on television or in the cinema. Fear is a dark, subterranean river flowing through our innermost beings and influencing our every moment, whether waking or sleeping. If, as Freud tells us, the purpose of dreams is to fulfil our secret or manifest desires, then surely somewhere deep inside us that most basic of human desires must constantly be being fulfilled: to survive one’s own life.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jan Švankmajer

Written by: Jan Švankmajer

Produced by: Jaromír Kallista

Cinematography: Jan Růžička, Juraj Galvánek

Editing: Marie Zemanová

Production Design: Jan Švankmajer

Cast: Emília Došeková, Daniela Bakerová, Václav Helšus, Klára Issová, Zuzana Kronerová

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2011