Shorts Program One:
A Star from the Start
Sunday, September 2, 1 pm
Trnka proved himself to be a master animator from the very beginning, as evidenced by the formally inventive, wittily offbeat works in this program, which includes the filmmaker’s earliest experiments in the art form: hand-drawn cartoons that play like a distinctly Czech anti-Disney; a modernist tour-de-force of surrealist invention; and a rapturously beautiful puppet adaptation of Chekhov. Running time: 74 minutes. Recommended for all ages.
Grandpa Planted a Beet (Zasadil dědek řepu)
A farmer finds himself with an unusually fertile bumper crop on his hands in Trnka’s first film, a charming hand-drawn adaptation of a Czech fairy tale that announced the director as an animation talent to rival Disney. 1945, Czechoslovakia, DCP, no dialogue, 10 minutes.
The Animals and the Brigands (Zvířátka a petrovští)
A rooster, a cat, and a goat meet a trio of ignoble characters deep in a night-shrouded forest in this hand-illustrated, Cannes prize-winning folktale, which showcases Trnka’s gift for evoking light and shadow. 1946, Czechoslovakia, DCP, in Czech with English subtitles, 8 minutes.
Springman and the SS (Pérák a SS)
Trnka combines 2D and collage animation to striking effect in this zanily offbeat, anti-Nazi lampoon, which crosses Max Fleischer-like absurdism with a biting satirical edge. His first collaboration with Jiří Brdečka. 1946, Czechoslovakia, 35mm, no dialogue, 13 minutes.
The Gift (Dárek)
Trnka reached new heights of modernist abstraction with this innovative, surrealist mini-masterwork, which critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon likened to the Citizen Kane of animation. Co-directed with Jiří Krejčík. 1946, Czechoslovakia, DCP, in Czech with English subtitles, 15 minutes.
Romance with Double Bass (Román s basou)
This dreamily beautiful puppet work adapts a short story by Chekhov into a magical, moonlit reverie about a musician, a princess, and a chance encounter while night-swimming. 1949, Czechoslovakia, DCP, in Czech with English subtitles, 13 minutes.
The Golden Fish (O zlaté rybce)
Trnka returned to 2D animation for this wryly humorous fairy tale—written and narrated by legendary Czech actor Jan Werich—about a man whose problems only multiply when he catches a wish-granting fish. 1951, Czechoslovakia, DCP, in Czech with English subtitles, 15 minutes.