Being an animation obsessive, but not one with any great love for mainstream Hollywood, I’ve been looking forward to this event for some time. The former Czecholsavakia – today’s Czech republic – has a remarkable film heritage of animation of every conceivable type. Jiří Brdečka may not be one of that tradition’s best known names but his idiosyncratic and stylish films make getting to know his work a must. A couple of days ago, this excellent trailer for the event turned up on YouTube courtesy of the Czech Centre London which gives something of a flavour of the great man’s work. It promises to be a very special evening indeed.
A selection of Brdečka´s best animated shorts featuring among others a daring hymn to free thinking (Gallina Vogelbirdae; 1963 Grand Prix Winner at the Annecy International Animation Festival), a Gothic tale inspired by 17th Century woodcuts, a horrifying murder story reminiscent of Greek tragedy, a story of star-crossed love, and a touching miner´s ballad.
These films of immense poetic and artistic quality place Brdecka alongside Czech masters such as Jiří Trnka and Karel Zeman while reminding us that Disney is not the only model for telling stories through animation and that animation is not just for children.
Jiří Brdečka (1917 – 1982), script-writer and director, has directed 35 animated films, that have been awarded more than 40 international prizes, including the grand prizes at Annecy, Oberhausen, Montevideo and San Sebastian. A close collaborator with Jiří Trnka, Brdečka worked with the best artists (e.g. Kamil Lhoták, Eva Švankmajerová, Jiří Anderle, Zdeněk Seydl) and musicians (e.g. Zdeněk Liška, Jan Klusák) to deliver beatifully animated stories full of poetry and humour.
You can book for the event here and the press release for the evening is reproduced below. There will also be a Q&A with the writer and film critic Tereza Brdečková.