Jiri Trnka Short Films
Grandpa Planted a Beet A farmer finds himself with an unusually fertile bumper crop on his hands in Trnka’s first film, a charming hand-drawn adaptation of a Czech fairy tale that announced the director as an animation talent to rival Disney. The program also serves as a survey of animation techniques employed by the artist throughout his career. The Animals and the Brigands (Zviratka a petrovsti) A rooster, a cat, and a goat meet a trio of ignoble characters deep in a night-shrouded forest in this hand-illustrated, Cannes prize-winning folktale, which showcases Trnka’s gift for evoking light and shadow. Merry Circus (Vesely cirkus) Trnka brings to life a surrealist circus of tightrope-walking fish, musical monkeys, balancing bears, and high-flying acrobatics in this whimsical feat of cutout animation made in collaboration with leading Czech painters of the era. The Gingerbread House (Pernikova chaloupka) The Czech version of Hansel and Gretel receives a captivating, puppet-animated adaptation, featuring striking—and fittingly macabre—storybook imagery designed by Trnka and direction by his close colleague and animation heir, Bretislav Pojar. Kutasek and Kutilka (Kutasek a Kutilka jak rano vstavali) How do you wake up a sleeping puppet? Made by Trnka in collaboration with actor and puppeteer Josef Pehr, this winsome mix of live action and puppet play is enchanting entertainment for the youngest of viewers. Circus Hurvinek (Cirkus Hurvinek) Trnka pays homage to two of Czechoslovakia’s most beloved characters—Spejbl and the mischievous Hurvinek, a father-and-son duo created by Trnka’s puppeteer mentor, Josef Skupa—in this imaginative tale of a young boy who dreams of being part of the circus.