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Saw this on the K.Kawamoto collected short film works. Audio track was either Czech or Japanese with English subtitles. The artist is not widely known outside Japan though he is one of the best stop-motion animators worldwide. Having visited Prague in 1963 as a disciple of the great Jiri Trnka, he returned again after the Velvet Revolution in 1990 to produce in collaboration with Jiri Trnka Studio this short feature, namely the adaptation of the "Sleaping Beauty" fairy tale.
Having followed Trnka's guidelines how to make successful stop-motion and also with the help of other Czechoslovakian stop-motion masters, Kawamoto made one masterpiece. Though this is a co-production and it is clear that there are some differences with the other works of the artist, this short movie has both the features Kawamoto had used in his previous film (House of Flames, Dojoji Temple, Demon)and the features that made Czechoslovakian stop-motion cinema known word wide: dark fairy-tale atmosphere and characters faithful to the Brother Grim text, lyricism, amazing puppet design and animation, very good soundtrack and most importantly it leaves its mark on the viewer and it is mainly for adults as here the fairy tale has a twist most fairy tale adaptations for children would deliberately omit.
Since it is only 21 minutes long it doesn't turn tedious.
One feels that only the settings, the costumes and the people changed from Oriental to European but in essence this has Kawamoto's marks and the rest of the staff offered mainly guidance and advice.
Too bad that good animation films are known and appreciated only by a select few. If you get the chance to watch this in a festival don't miss it.
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