By Gary Meyer
Do you remember a short film called Creature Comforts?
Stop motion clay animated zoo animals were given voice by a series of non-actors in series of “man on the street” type interviews where they talk about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a zoo. In 1991 the film won an Academy Award for director Nick Park and Aardman Animations.
They are back.
In connection with the current tour of THE PUPPET MASTER film series and Carlos Valladares’ article about Jiří Trnka we present short films about the stop motion animator.
A 1967 Czech TV short about Trnka
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