Odense International Film Festival presented famous Czech animators
28.08.2011 / 10:30
This year’s Odense International Film Festival (22–27 August 2011) presented a special programme in cooperation with the Czech Embassy in Copenhagen introducing the famous Czech masters of animation: Karel Zeman, Jiří Trnka, Jan Švankmajer and Zdeněk Miler.
Invitation to a Czech reception and Czech programme (Czech and Danish only)
Film enthusiasts gathered traditionally at the end of August in Odense, where the Odense International Film Festival of Short Films had taken place for 36 years. Besides the best of the world short film productions, the guests could look forward to four film blocks presenting four Czech animators: Karel Zeman, Jiří Trnka, Jan Švankmajer and Zdeněk Miler. Selected blocks were introduced by the Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka. The Danish film historian Ulrich Breuning gave erudite commentary.
The so-called father of Czech animated film, Karel Zeman, was commemorated by his ground-breaking movie The Fabulous World of Jules Verne that astounded the audience at the 1958 Brussels Expo Exhibition. The film was screened in 70 countries of the world and placed Karel Zeman among the significant personalities of the world cinematography.
The multi-talented Czech animator Jiří Trnka was presented by a series of short films, starting by his early movie The Springman and the SS (1946), continuing with puppet western The Song of the Prairie (1949) and the Anthon Pavlovich Chekhov adaptation called The Story of the Bass Cello (1949). The series culminated with Trnka’s last and most famous movie The Hand (1965) that received numerous awards despite having been banned in Czechoslovakia for a long time.
The festival also presented the internationally acclaimed surrealist Jan Švankmajer. The series of short films included Švankmajer’s early movies The Game with Stones (1965) and Picnic with Weissman (1968), his most famous films Dimensions of Dialogue (1982) or Darkness / Light / Darkness (1989) and the series was topped by his more recent films The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (1990) and Food (1992). The series also included a real specialty – Švankmajer’s one-minute masterpiece Meat Love (1989).
The festival also prepared a children programme dedicated to the legendary figure of the Mole, created by the Czech animator Zdeněk Miler. The Mole has been popular in Denmark in decades and still belongs to beloved children features. The Mole entered the Danish film distribution in 1960’s, when the German television company WDR co-financed the production of more episodes of The Mole and thanks to this fact The Mole could be shown in Western Europe.