A handmade stop-motion fairy tale for adults that tells the tale of the struggle between the aristocratic White Mice and the rustic Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak over the doll of their heart's desire.
A very free adaptation of Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus', Goethe's 'Faust' and various other treatments of the old legend of the man who sold his soul to the devil. Svankmajer's Faust is a ... See full summary »
Six outwardly average individuals have elaborate fetishes they indulge with surreptitious care. A mousy letter carrier makes dough balls she grotesquely ingests before bed. A shop clerk ... See full summary »
Cycles of life, with fantasy elements. An ax splits wood. Bits of split wood move in stop-motion; one piece has a woman's face near the top. Water streams in torrents; patches of snow give ... See full summary »
Laid-off old mannequins spend their cracked and broken lives in an old, abandoned warehouse. New mannequins are brought to the warehouse. They are old as well, but from a younger generation... See full summary »
An amazing Czech adult stop-motion animation film, loosely based on the German folk tale the Pipe Piper of Hamelin, directed by Jiri Barta. A real art-house piece of animation that has a mix of Renaissance and Medieval elements.
There are many original elements about this film. The first one is the story, which deviates from the original mostly in the fact that is socially allegorical and there are not children on view, but one at the end. The Hamelin of Barta is a greedy, glutton and lusty society dominated by males, which could perfectly mimic our modern world. The piper is the punisher and redemptor, and the catalyst necessary for human renewal in this sort of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The second element of originality is its language... which is... International language... that is, onomatopoeic sounds, grunts, mumblings and gibbering, perfectly understandable by any viewer in the world. I found it hilarious! The third element of originality is the visual style of the movie, which are traditional and innovative at the same time, very odd actually, but very artistic. There are two elements in the animation: 1/ carved backgrounds with wood puppets, in very dark colors, and 2/ colorful paintings on wood. Hamelin's backgrounds, architecture and building interiors are made of carved wood, as the one you could find for example in some Renaissance choir chairs in some churches and cathedrals, but German expressionist in its design, with oppressive spaces, diagonal and curved lines that seem to collapse, with unbalanced proportions and oniric elements. The atmosphere is very dark and oppressive. On the contrary, the paintings are bucolic and very artistic and match the sort of countryside painting that you could find in Books of Hours of the late Middle Ages (Gothic period), and they are beautiful and colorful, light and human, a total counterpoint to the rest of the visuals, especially because they are associated to the most human characters of the story. The truth is that I found in the movie very Bergman's, in a way, with elements that you could find in movies like The Seventh Seal or the Virgin Spring.
The third element of originality is the design of the characters. Most of them are wood puppets, with mobile parts and fabric clothing. They are angular-faced but tall and thing. Also wooden but with a complete different style is the character of the piper, who looks like a mix of walking skeleton, a Goth rock band member, and an apocalyptic angel. Finally, the two good characters in the city are the little lady living in the outskirts of the city and the fisherman, who are made of wood, but very refined, human-like, and very sweet and delicate (a reflection of their soul). The rest of the characters are, of course, the rats, real ones (although they looked more mice than rats to me), the size of the human characters, naughty monsters as greedy as the humans, which move rapidly and awkwardly, giving them a grotesque aspect that goes perfectly with the whole style of the film.
Finally, the music is terrific - a mix of dark classic pieces and rock sounds with the ethereal sound of the flute as only breaker.
The end is great, and has nothing to do with the traditional story. It couldn't be otherwise as the movie is an allegorical reflection on society and humanity. The title in Czech means rat trapper, which works not only literally, as the Hamelin dwellers are as much as pest as the rats are.
The only thing I did not like is that some general scenes were repeated over and over, like some of the movement in the cities or some landscape shots.
The film is not for small kids because there are too many hard things to explain: lust, rape, killing of animals, stealing, death, and the general nastiness of the dwellers of the city.
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