by Carlos Valladares
Jean Cocteau said of Jiří Trnka, the Czech animator and puppeteer, that the very name conjures up childhood and poetry. Note the “and”—childhood and poetry, la poésie de l’enfance, which Trnka treats with the depth and respect those oft-belittled years merit. We are only too quick to gloss over our fanciful kid dreams, our stumbling attempts to use simple words to convey huge emotions which we spend our adult trying to refine and intellectualize and know, know, boringly know.
Trnka, by contrast, was a seer, a dweller. He dwelled in youth, dwelled in the crevices of language before social and linguistic codes are mastered (most of his films’ narratives lose you along the way, and that’s when you know they’re working). His magic is the magic of the slow burn, the way the worlds of imperial China or a rose-wrapped Greek forest unfurl before your childlike eyes with a responsible contempt for the straight-edged story-line. Trnka’s gift—the gift, also, of Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter, François Truffaut, Demy in Donkey Skin mode, the late Stephen Hillenburg, and other bards of childhood—was to give kids what they most needed for maturity, a truthful artifice wrapped in a lived-in melancholy and wistfulness, and to make jaded adults see as simply as their kids again.
by Karl Cohen
A delightful blend of films that range from an exceptional sea faring drama, THE AGE OF SAIL to a very funny and goofy cartoon comedy, THE GREEN BIRD are part of The 20TH Annual Animation Show of Shows starting its national release at four San Francisco area theaters on Friday, November 2.
by Frako Loden
For those who have heard about the excellence of Polish animation but haven’t seen much of it, the “Polish Animation 70 Years” series at Pacific Film Archive is a superb crash course in a remarkable body of work starting Sunday, December 3. Since the political thaw of 1956, Polish animation has been winning awards at film festivals all through the world.
Red & Black
A Celluloid Detective’s Adventures in the World’s Deepest, Darkest Vaults and Beyond
By Russell Merritt
When I remember David Shepard, I think of high adventure, the kind that turns film reclamation into a series of quests, conspiracies, improbable partnerships, witty banter, and second story work.
TIT FOR TAT (La Piene du talion)
(d. Gaston Velle, France, 1906)
Monday, March 14 is National π Day and we thought it would be fun to have a special Pie edition of Eat My Shorts.
In late 2015 it was reported that the long-thought-lost complete Laurel and Hardy two reeler The Battle of The Century had been found. Bay Area collector Jon Mirsalis acquired a large film collection and has been working his way through the prints. When he came across a reel marked “Battle of the Century, R2” Jon assumed it would be the same chopped up version of the movie’s famous pie fight that people have seen since the 1950s. But to his shock and delight it included all the missing footage. Jon worked with Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films and they have done a total restoration –and we have it on good authority that it will screen at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in June.
The Battle of the Century (1927) excerpt
Read about the discovery in the New York Times. Continue reading
“In their first appearance together at the Smith Rafael Film Center since their initial “dialogue” series in 2009, David Thomson, celebrated film critic and historian, will join award-winning novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje for an entertaining weekend of screenings and discussions around trains as cinematic subject and stimulus.