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In 1897, in a castle near the town of Werewolfville in the Carpathians, a slightly deranged Professor Orfanik experiments with his new inventions which include, even at this early date, television and a film camera.
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This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.
Josef von Báky
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The stories of Baron Münchhausen were enriched by Karel Zeman with a character of a modern astronaut Tommy and compare two different worlds - the world of a rococo cavalier whose fantasy does not have any limits and the world of a young man of the present time. The astronaut (Rudolf Jelínek) finds on the moon the famous dreamer Baron Münchhausen (Milos Kopecký), who takes him back to earth and a variety of exaggerated adventures. Amusing variation on the old stories, using live action against deliberately artificial backgrounds. Written by
Amazing visual treatment, adult but not salacious fantasy.
By now, nearly everyone should be familiar with the Munchausen story or, at least, some portion of it even if shi didn't grown up on these German drinking boasts which got way out of hand.
This is not the first or last treatment of the braggart Baron, but this version has a charm that many others lack.
The film is shot, predominantly in sepia tone with occasional bits in exaggerated color for artistic emphasis. Those who recall the pink coat in Schindler's List will have some idea of what is happening. But, in this case, the effect is not so much an attempt to indicate a major event that was necessarily slighted in the film. Rather, it helps to emphasize the aspects of the fantastic and the fairy tale romanticism that the director is emphasizing.
The live actors are shot against an animated background and are often blithely unaware of the fantastic things that are sweeping around them while they concern themselves with the essentially silly issues of their lives. This is Czech animation which seems rather exotic to those of us raised on Disney-esque 'realism'. Still, it's stylism adds a charm to the film that helps to reinforce the multiple layers that the director has built into this piece.
You should not attempt to become involved in the film so much as to sit back and marvel at the world that is passing unobserved by those passing through it.
When it has finished,you will want to watch it again and again to catch how all the different visual layers interact in your mind if not on the screen.
If I had to compare this effect to any other film, I suppose I would choose the way that Altman weaves the foreground and background into the midground in "M*A*S*H", though the two films are very different and have completely different statements about the world.
This is a fantasy and it is truly fantastic, but only on an adult level. Children will have many questions that all come down to 'why is it happening that way?' For children, fantasy is a chance to dream dreams and play games. This is a film for adults that has found an adult way to present the wit and contradiction of the original stories while acting out the ingenuousness of the characters' actions.
See this one. It deserves your attention.
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