Old Czech Legends

(Staré pověsti české)
Czechoslovakia 1952. Dir: Jiří Trnka. 91 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! Trnka’s magical puppet work brings a treasure trove of Bohemian myths to life in this folkloric hymn to the Czech land, history, and people, now newly restored by the Czech National Film Archive. Based on a tome by the “Czech Sir Walter Scott” Alois Jirásek and on the famed medieval chronicle written by Cosmas of Prague, it illustrates seven fabled historical episodes, including the settling of an Edenic ancient Bohemia, the tale of an all-female revolt led by a cast-out princess, and the legend of a weak-willed king whose passion for gold nearly destroys his kingdom. It all culminates in a breathtaking climactic battle sequence — a tour de force of editing, music, and stop-motion (employing more than seventy figurines) that plays like puppet Kurosawa. In Czech with English subtitles.

— preceded by —

The Gift

Czechoslovakia 1946. Dirs: Jiří Trnka, Jiří Krejčík. 15 min. DCP

Trnka reached new heights of modernist abstraction with this innovative, surrealist mini-masterwork, which critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon praised as the Citizen Kane of animation.