The Puppet Master: The Films of Jiří Trnka @ The Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland [from 12 May to 9 June]

The Puppet Master: The Films of Jiří Trnka


91
12
May
 
- 9
Jun
17:00 - 18:45

 Facebook event page
The Cleveland Institute of Art
11610 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
The Cinematheque has shown many films over the years by Czech animators Karel Zeman (The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) and Jan Švankmajer (Alice). But the great postwar Czech animator who helped pave the way for these two later artists’ success, Jiří Trnka (1912-1969), has until now escaped our attention. This is largely because good copies—or any copies—of Trnka’s major films were unavailable in the U.S. But a new touring exhibition of the filmmaker’s complete output remedies that. The Film Society of Lincoln Center recently presented “The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka” in New York City. Now four of his features and nine of his shorts (about half of the exhibition, and Trnka’s key works) come to Clev...eland.
Trnka was a versatile artist—a painter, sculptor, draughtsman, woodcarver, writer, illustrator, and stage designer who operated a puppet theater until the start of WWII and turned to movies after the war. Though his early animated shorts used such traditional techniques as drawings and cutouts, he soon introduced his beloved puppets (not marionettes but figurines) to his stop-motion films, and the rest is history. With subjects ranging from social satires and celebrations of Czech life and culture to ambitious literary adaptations and critiques of totalitarianism, the prolific, protean Trnka became a formidable, influential figure, acclaimed around the world. No wonder he was known as “the Walt Disney of Eastern Europe.”
This touring retrospective is produced by Comeback Company, originated at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Curated by Irena Kovarova. Films provided by the Czech National Film Archive. All photos courtesy of Czech National Film Archive. Program descriptions partially derived from film notes written by Andy Lauer.
Saturday, May 12, at 5:00 pm
A Special Event!
New Digital Restoration!
THE CZECH YEAR
ŠPALIČEK
Czechoslovakia, 1947, Jiří Trnka
Jiří Trnka’s first animated feature—“an absolute revelation,” according to the Dictionary of Films—is a stop-motion celebration of Czech music, dance, folklore, and customs chronicling a year of life in a rural village. “A deeply magical film fantasy.” -Jean-Pierre Coursodon. Cleveland revival premiere. Subtitles. DCP. 78 min. Preceded at 5:00 by Trnka’s 15-min. The Gift (Dárek, 1946, subtitles). Special admission $11; members, CIA & CSU I.D. holders, and those age 25 & under $8. No passes, twofers, or radio winners.
Saturday, May 19, at 5:00 pm
A Special Event!
Film Classics in 35mm!
Imported Archival Print!
THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE
CÍSAŘŮV SLAVÍK
Czechoslovakia, 1948, Jiří Trnka, Miloš Makovec
A Chinese emperor prefers his mechanical nightingale to a real one in this colorful and imaginative stop-motion adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. No dialogue. 72 min. Preceded at 5:00 by Trnka’s 12-min. The Two Frosts (Dva mrazíci, 1954, subtitles, DCP) featuring the voices of Czech comedians Vlasta Burian and Jan Werich. Special admission $12; members, CIA & CSU I.D. holders, and those age 25 & under $9. No passes, twofers, or radio winners.
Saturday, May 26, at 5:00 pm
A Special Event!
New Digital Restorations!
OLD CZECH LEGENDS
STARÉ POVĔSTI ČESKÉ
Czechoslovakia, 1952, Jiří Trnka
Seven historic Czech legends involving slaves, a wild boar, a women’s revolt, and lust for gold are brought to stunning stop-motion life in this rousing folkloric spectacle that features a veritable “cast of thousands” (all figurines). The climactic battle against attacking wolves and birds is worthy of Kurosawa! “Old Czech Legends was for Trnka what The Nibelungen was for Fritz Lang: an epic full of noble deeds.” –Dictionary of Films. Cleveland revival premiere. Subtitles. DCP. 91 min. Preceded at 5:00 by Trnka’s 8-min. The Animals and the Brigands (Zviřátka a petrovští, 1946, subtitles). Special admission $11; members, CIA & CSU I.D. holders, and those age 25 & under $8. No passes, twofers, or radio winners.
Saturday, June 2, at 5:00 pm
A Special Event!
Film Classics in 35mm!
JIŘÍ TRNKA: FIVE ANIMATED SHORTS
Czechoslovakia, 1946-1965, Jiří Trnka
Five essential animated shorts spanning Trnka’s 20-year film career illustrate his versatility and political courage. Program includes: Springman and the SS (Pérák a SS, 1946, co-directed by Jiří Brdečka, no dialogue), a biting anti-Nazi satire; the whimsical cutout animation Merry Circus (Veselý circus, 1951, no dialogue); the dystopian Space Age satire Cybernetic Grandma (Kybernetická babička, 1962, subtitles, DCP); the bawdy Boccaccio adaptation Archangel Gabriel and Mistress Goose (Archandĕl Gabriel a paní Husa, 1964, no dialogue, DCP); and Trnka’s final masterpiece The Hand (Ruka, 1965, no dialogue), a powerful allegory on artistic expression and totalitarianism. Total running time 100 min. Special admission $11; members, CIA & CSU I.D. holders, and those age 25 & under $8. No passes, twofers, or radio winners.
Saturday, June 9, at 5:00 pm
A Special Event!
Film Classics in 35mm!
Imported Archival Print!
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
SEN NOCI SVATOJÁNSKÉ
Czechoslovakia, 1959, Jiří Trnka
Three years in production, Trnka’s final feature is one of his grandest visions—a bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s dreamy romantic fantasy, narrated in English. Color and scope. 72 min. Preceded at 5:00 by Trnka’s 20-min. slapstick sagebrush spoof Song of the Prairie (Arie prerie, 1949, no dialogue, DCP). Special admission $12; members, CIA & CSU I.D. holders, and those age 25 & under $9. No passes, twofers, or radio winners.
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