Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Czech Film Series: Selections from the shorts of Jiří Trnka

Thu, February 13, 2014 | BUR 231

6:30 PM

Czech Film Series: Selections from the shorts of Jiří Trnka

The Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies is proud to announce the second screening of the renowned Czech Film Series. All films will be shown every Thursday at 6:30pm in BUR 231. (No film on February 20th.) 
This weeks screening will show Selections from the shorts of Jiří Trnka, master innovator of early Czech puppet films, including Song of the Prairie / Arie Prairie (1949), Story of a Bass / Román s basou (1949), and Cybernetic Grandma / Kybernetická babička (1962).
Song of the Prairie / Arie Prairie (1949): A classical parody of American westerns. A comic story of a pretty senorita travelling to the Wild West by a stage-coach. She is saved from the claws of an evil-eyed bandit at the very last moment by a fair-haired singing cowboy. 
Story of a Bass / Román s basou (1949): The story is based on Anton Chekhovs story "Roman s Kontrabasom". Princess Bibulova decides to go fishing along the river while not far away a bass player leaves his two companions to go for a swim.
Cybernetic Grandma / Kybernetická babička (1962): Trnka’s sci-fi vision of the future in which machines and robots try to substitute themselves into the most beautiful human relationships. A cybernetic robot is supposed to substitute for the loving grandmother of a little girl. The wise grandmother, however, comes back and the girl finds the warmth of her grandmother’s loving arms again. Trnka’s artistic ideas in this film can be described as both poetically fragile and dramatically cautionary. 

Films are free and open to the public.*

Films are in Czech with English subtitles.

Other films in this series:

Feb 20            NO FILM – Presentation by guest historian Dr. Ben Frommer entitled PERSECUTION IN THE NAME OF PROTECTION: How Czech Fascists, Prague Bureaucrats and Local Police Helped Build the Nazi “Ghetto without Walls”

Feb 27            The Fimfárum of Jan Werich (2002) – A puppet film set to a 1960s recording of legendary Czech actor Jan Werich (1905–1980) reading his story FimFárum.

March 6         Selections from the collection of short films Labyrinth of Darkness / Labyrint tmyby Jiří Barta, including the renowned stop motion film The Pied Piper of Hamelin / Krysař (1986) inspired by German Expressionism and medieval art.

March 20       Selected short films of Jan Svankmajer, including The Coffin Factory / Rakvičkárna (1968),Dimensions of Dialogue / Možnosti dialogu (1982), Darkness Light Darkness / Tma Světlo Tma (1990), and Food / Jídlo(1992).

March 27       Conspirators of Pleasure / Spiklenci slasti (1996) – A full-length feature by Jan Svankmajer.

April 3           Rex-patriots (2004) by Nancy Bishop – The series’ only live-action film—a mockumentary of expatriate life in Prague—it still features a touch of things puppet. The film will be introduced by one of its producers, Jeffrey Brown, and followed by a Q&A.

April 10         One Night in One City / Jedné noci v jednom městě (2007) – An adult black comedy puppet film by award-winning contemporary puppeteer Jan Balej.

April 17         Toys In The Attic (2009) – A stop-motion animated family feature film by Czech director Jiří Barta. The English dub version was directed by Vivian Schilling and features the voices of Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack, and Cary Elwes. The film was a Czech, Slovak, and Japanese co-production.

 *While some of the films in the series are suitable for viewers of all ages, many of the films include substantial adult content. (Puppets have sex too!) Please check film ratings online or email for a recommendation for children.

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