Ludvík Šváb’s connection to the world art, and in particular his own artistic activity, including in cinema, never took on the nature of a professional obligation; on the contrary, art to him was above all a hobby pursued intensely in his leisure time. This book and accompanying DVD present the diversity of Šváb’s talents and the scope of his interests, with an emphasis on charting the different forms of his pursuit of cinema. His activities in music, theatre, and the visual arts, but also in medicine, provided the motivation behind his filmmaking, and at certain times, all of these were variously interconnected. From the 1950s onwards Ludvík Šváb was member of the Prague Surrealist Group, and it was impossible in the present monograph to avoid a discussion of Surrealism, an essential source of inspiration for his creative efforts. Yet the book does not rely on a portrait of Šváb-as-Surrealist, instead presenting him as a filmmaker and at the same time an erudite connoisseur of cinema, adept at original criticism of specific films, as well as analysis of general issues pertaining to cinema.
The monograph is comprised of research-based essays, a selection of Šváb’s own writing, illustrations and an accompanying DVD. Of the four original research papers, two focus on Šváb’s amateur film-making (Jiří Horníček and Evženie Brabcová), while the other two, inspired by the authors’ personal encounters with Ludvík Šváb focus on his own persona, within the milieu of the Surrealist Group (František Dryje) as well as the Prague jazz scene (Stanislav Dvorský).