A historical co-production with fairy tale elements. It concentrates on Tomás (Brano Holícek), a 14-year-old boy who lives beneath the castle of the powerful Lord Balador (Juraj Kukura). ... See full summary »
There's something interesting about Czech animation of the 60'. There was talent, and an interesting will to explore, try new things. Plus, the Czechs were probably the most actively discontent people of the soviet satellite states. When this film came out, the Prague spring was about to happen, the country was boiling with tension and will to change.
Creative minds usually boil at higher temperatures under such contexts. So, I assume that some metaphor of search of freedom might be made of this story. Flying away, escaping land, searching for places where one can try the unthinkable back home. Intellectuals not playing along the regimes on the other side of the curtain were having tough times. This would be a suitable metaphor, in the line of what Svankmajer was doing.
Also, the choosing of Jules Verne, so loved by this director, is itself a comment on the kind of thing he was trying to pull off. The reason why we love Verne is the inventiveness of the science fictions he proposes. He didn't write sci-fi as Philip Dick, where the scientific otherworldliness is the framework for the exposure of a cleverly conceived deep exploration of things close to us, in our "real" world. Instead, with Vernes it's really about the world, in physical terms, the verisimilitude of the scientific proposal, to live in that world, as it is defined by the writer. He gives us the seduction of hipper-realism, the sensation that what we're reading might be possible (indeed much of it is right now being done), wrapped around the fascination of a fantasy parallel world. On top of everything, experimenting is what drives this kind of creators.
The trouble with this film is that the codes are outdated. I don't connect to the visual presentation of this film. This world sounds flat and not fascinating today. There is visual sensitivity here, in how animation and real action are mixed, how the yellow tone is used to unite the whole bits. A lot of effort was put into it, and it may have worked in its day. But not now. It's a scream for freedom, and we feel it even today, As such, it's good. As a film, i really think that there are other adventures more worthy of being lived, other journeys for useful to be taken.
My opinion: 1/5
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