Jiří Trnka: The Walt Disney of the East
12.15.2010
04:03 pm

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
Art
Czech
The Hand
Stop Motion Animation
Ji?

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His book illustrations and animations have influenced generations of children. Understandable then that Czech artist, puppeteer and stop-motion film-maker, Jiří  Trnka was known as the “Walt Disney of the East.”

From the moment he could hold a pencil, Trnka drew pictures. But drawing wasn’t enough for him, no, he wanted to bring his pictures to life. So, he started making puppets and opened a wooden puppet theatre on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. It was here in 1945, that Trnka and his colleagues started making stop-animation films based on the ideas and stories developed in the theatre. Trnka was legendary, as Studio Director, Zdena Deitchova recalled in 2007, “[he] was the symbol of a great artist and a great illustrator, and everybody in the studio in those days looked at him really with great admiration.”

In 1947, Trnka made The Czech Year (Špalíček), which told six separate folk tales of Czech life. It was a defining moment for Trnka as he won several international awards three years running across Europe. Trnka’s next film was the Song of the Prairie, and then, in 1949, he made The Emperor’s Nightingale a beautiful, poetic and unforgettable film, adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, and voiced by Hollywood star Boris Karloff.

Though he worked with puppets, Trnka’s unique drawing skills were still very evident, as author Edgar Dutka recalled in a memoir:

“He transferred this style of book illustration into puppets, so they are very typical. If I see Trnka’s puppets, I say: ‘Oh, that’s Trnka. His roots are in Czech village, in Czech culture, so those puppets are villagers: short legs… farmers…’ They’re lovely. It’s a special style. That’s why his fairy tale won the Grand Prix in Cannes in 1946, because it was something new.”

Over the next ten years, Trnka made four of his best known works, The Merry Circus (Veselý Cirkus, 1951), Old Czech Legends (Staré pověsti české, 1953), The Good Soldier Svejk (Dobrý voják Švejk, 1955) and arguably his greatest film A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sen noci svatojánské, 1959).

Then in 1965, he made his last film The Hand (Ruka), with which he moved away from traditional Czech tales to a political critique of his country under Russian domination. It was a controversial and very dangerous film to make, one that:

...was an unexpected and surprising break in his work thus far. It was something completely new in content and form. The Hand is a merciless political allegory, which strictly follows story outline without developing lyrical details as usual; it had a strong dramatic arc with deep catharsis…

...When The Hand was released it was officially declared as Trnka’s criticism of the Cult of Personality (Stalin), but for all people, it was an alarming allegory of human existence in a totalitarian society. The film had the strong up-to-date story about the Artist and the omnipresent Hand, which only allowed the Artist to make sculptures of the Hand and nothing else. The Artist was sent to a prison for his disobedience and pressed to hew a huge sculpture of the Hand. When the omnipresent Hand caused the Artist’s death, the same Hand organizes the artist’s State funeral with all artists honoured. Trnka, for the first time, openly expressed his opinion about his own inhuman totalitarian society. The Hand was one of the first films that helped to open the short Prague’s Spring.

In The Hand Trnka predicted his own fate, as he died at the early age of fifty-seven in 1969. Like the Artist in his last film, he was buried with full State honors. This documentary gives a fascinating insight into Trnka’s brilliant creative world.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Jan Švankmajer - Dimensions of Dialogue


 
Part 2 plus Trnka’s ‘The Hand’ after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
William S. Burroughs ‘The Junky’s Christmas’

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It’s that time of year when stories once were told around a roaring open-fire, as snow flakes left their prints upon the windows. Now, continuing in that spirit, here is a tale of redemption and hope to enjoy around the flickering laptops and computer screens of our winter time.

Francis Ford Coppola produced this short Claymation film based on William S. Burroughs excellent story The Junky’s Christmas. Directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel, it opens with live action footage of Burroughs as he begins his tale:

It was Christmas Day and Danny the Car Wiper hit the street junksick and broke after seventy-two hours in the precinct jail. It was a clear bright day, but there was warmth in the sun. Danny shivered with an inner cold. He turned up the collar of his worn, greasy black overcoat.
This beat benny wouldn’t pawn for a deuce, he thought.

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig Christmas Special

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Looking for a last minute Christmas stocking stuffer for the middle-aged headbanger in your life. Well here it is, ‘Henry And Glenn Forever: The Boxset.’

Moshing through the snow with America’s most beloved washed-up punk rockers.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Sekitano Norihiro’s brutal delirium
12.10.2010
12:51 pm

Topics:
Animation
Art
Idiocracy

Tags:
Sekitano Norihiro

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Sekitano Norihiro’s surreal collage work is a mindbending explosion of day-glo entrails, lysergic flowers, primitive Japanese medical illustrations, torture devices, pop art advertisements, Tibetan hungry ghosts, and mutant babies, rendered in such a way as to maximize the nightmare factor. Into the Bardo. See more here.

“I use pictures of bowels because they have such beautiful colors! My artwork doesn’t mean anything more than how it looks. There is nothing more that I want to explain using words.”

Brutal video delirium from artist Norihiro for Japanese breakcore musicians Maruoso and ZFE (zombie face eater).
 

 
ZFE after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Extremely deep zoom into the Mandelbrot set: Infinitely psychedelic

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The beautiful and infinite geometry of our Universe is echoed in this vivid fractal journey generated by Chris Korda using the Mandelbrot set. Worlds within worlds within whorls.

Korda describes the making of the video:

This is an extremely deep dive into the Mandelbrot set, to 2^316 (binary). In decimal that’s 1E+95, or 1 with 95 zeros after it.
The video was rendered using my own fractal software, called Fractice, which supports distributed processing using a client/server architecture. The render took five months, using a cluster of up to 20 dual-core PCs on a LAN, all running the Fractice rendering server. The actual number of servers varied over the five-month period but averaged around 15. Rendering only occurred at night.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Marieke Verbiesen’s Animated Sci-Fi Promo for Baskerville’s ‘Reloaded’

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I have a liking for 1950s sci-fi monster films - Them!, Tarantula, The Beast from 50,000 Fathoms, you get the idea, that’s why I’m rather enamored with this fun little promo for electronic Dutch duo Baskerville’s track “Reloaded”, in which “a scientific experiment goes terribly terribly wrong.” It was written and directed by Marieke Verbiesen and the puppet design is by Neeltje Sprengers. You can keep the music, just gimme the fabulous monsters.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Has the acid kicked in yet?

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Artist Will Sweeny makes the leap from designing club flyers, t-shirts and illustrating graphic novels to animation and the result is gorgeously psychedelic.

This video has been selected for the Guggenheim Museum’s YouTube Play biennial of creative video. The inaugural event showcases the most innovative online video from around the world and the judges including Stefan Sagmeister, Darren Aronofsky, Takeshi Murakami and Laurie Anderson.

Directed by Steve Scott.

Music: Birdy Nam Nam’s “The Parachute Ending”
 

Via bigactive.com

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
The magical visions of animation pioneer Richard Williams

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Canadian animator Richard Williams is best known for his work on Roger Rabbit, but he’s been making inventive commercials in the UK and USA since the late 1960s.

Animation maestro Richard Williams (The Thief and the Cobbler, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) found great success doing animated commercials in the UK, but his greatest goal was to learn from the great animators of the past, like Ken Harris, Art Babbit, Grim Natwick and Milt Kahl, and pass their knowledge on to his own studio and the animators of tomorrow. Richard was successful in doing this and many animators who worked under the brilliant, mad perfectionist went on to found their own studios, and to work on the great Disney films of the late 1980s and 1990s.

Richard never quite finished his dream project The Thief and the Cobbler (viewable on Youtube in a Recobbled Cut), as it was eventually financed by Warner Brothers, who went cold on the idea and took the film away from him.

These days Richard is known for having written perhaps the best book ever written on animation- The Animator’s Survival Kit. Every animation student should have one, and probably does.

Enjoy these wonderful animations from Richard Williams.
 

 
Lots more groovy animated fun after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Marty Feldman died 28 years ago today
12.02.2010
06:45 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Movies

Tags:
Richard Williams
Marty Feldman

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One of the funniest human beings to ever walk the earth Marty Feldman died 28 years ago today. He was only 49. Heart attack.

Dream sequence from the 1970 British comedy Every Home Should Have One starring Marty Feldman. Animation by Richard Williams.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Live action Wiley E. Coyote and The Roadrunner

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This live action take on Wiley E. Coyote and The Roadrunner cartoons by Apache Pictures is fun. The actor playing the Roadrunner actually looks a bit like the original.

I don’t know if this is part of a showreel or the beginning of a viral campaign for an energy drink. Whatever it is, it works.

Shot on location in Moab, Utah
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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