By Steve Daly
Updated November 15, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Czech filmmaker Svankmejer uses slime in his clay and puppet animation the way Monty Python use gore in their cartoon inserts: He rubs your nose so hard in rot, you have to laugh. In Jan Svankmejer’s Faust, he mixes live-action footage of a Prague citizen (Cepek) with the Hieronymus Bosch-style underworld he finds in a musty theater, wherein a strange troupe reenacts the Faust legend. There’s too much demonic gibberish and tiresome crosscutting for it to be good storytelling, but the dazzling visual strings Svankmejer pulls in his best clay-animated set pieces — like a death’s-head baby that boils up out of a beaker and an army of skeletal insects — make it worth striking a bargain between impatience and amazement. B

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