The Czech Film andTelevision Academy (CFTA) has selected Jan Svankmajer'sLunacy as the Czech Republic's contender for the foreign-language category of theAcademy Awards.

The film stars Pavel Liskaand Anna Geislerova as semi-willing residents of a madhouse run by a sadisticdoctor, played by Jan Triska. Svankmajer wrote the script in 1970 inspired bythe writings of Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis de Sade.

Petr Vachler of the CFTAtold that he could not reveal the names of the committeemembers that made the selection nor their number, but he praised Svankmajer's uncompromisingvision. "I'm not sure how Svankmajer's internationally-recognised signature caninterest the more conservative part of [the American academy]," he wrote in ane-mail, adding "It is an interesting challenge, certainly courageous."

Producer Jaromir Kallistareacted cautiously in the Czech press with cautious optimism about the chancesfor the surrealist film-maker's 'philosophical horror' picture, pointing outthat the film had travelled to dozens of international festivals and had beenwell received by art house audience in the US and Japan.