Svankmajer Adapting Insect Play

Karel Capek's satire to be animated

Fans of very-much-not-Pixar animation may be stoked at the news that Czech mentalist Jan Svankmajer is at work on an adaptation of Josef and Karel Capek's Insect Play.

Originally written in 1921, it's a satire on oppressive totalitarian regimes, in which humans act like insects, and insects - gloomy beetles, warrior ants, whimsical butterflies - have all the personality. Josef Kapek was killed at Belsen in 1945, giving the play a horrible prescience.

Svankmajer's version, to be simply titled Insects, will "combine dark comedy, grotesque, classic horror genre, and both animation and feature acting," he says, making it very much of a piece with the animator's previous Alice, Faust and Little Otik. He's wanted to make it since the 1970s: "I always liked it. It's very misanthropic. It reminds one a lot of Franz Kafka."

"Svankmajer is 76 and I'm 72," laments Jan's long-time producing partner Jaromir Kallista. "We are very old mates, but we are still filmmakers, and we still passionately need to shoot new films; it's like a breath of fresh air!"

The pair are currently at work on the screenplay and securing funding. They plan to have the film completed by 2015.