Puppet Masters

I had the pleasure of visiting the Barbican Gallery last week to see an event that’s part of their current animation season. This event was an evening of short films made by Bretislav Pojar followed by an interview with the man himself. Out of the ridiculously awesome events part of this season, it appealed to me because I remember studying Pojar briefly when working on a stop-motion project at art college. I know I found some of his films on the Tube, but as a Czech puppeteer and animator his work is massively overshadowed by his mentor, the god that is Jiri Trnka.

There’s no shortage of info on the Trnk online, so rather than botch together my own bio, I’ll link to the best bits I found:

Jiri Trnka: Walt Disney of the East! from Animation World Network (extensive and well written)

The Puppet films of Jiri Trnka from Not Coming to a Screen Near You (good extracts from Trnka’s bio by Jaroslav Bocek)

Trnka’s ‘Bayaya’ from Michael Sporn Animation (wicked photos and links to a documentary on the man)

Jiri Trnka 5 from one1more2time3 (loads of Trnka’s beautiful illustrations)

BACK TO POJAR! The films shown were a great mix, 3D and 2D stop motion, all made with mind blowing style and often with a really good element of humour. Not as child friendly as I had expected, way more original themes than a Disney flick and usually accompanied by an impressive and perfectly complimentary piece of music. The one I really want to watch again was The Lion and the Song (1953). It was nuts. A lion taken straight out of a Henri Rousseau painting eats a harlequin and his accordion… and deeply regrets it. Clearly words don’t do it justice…

Source (Also an excellent recap of the evening)

The cracker that opened the night is available on YouTube though, so check that out: A Drop Too Much. (Pojar is such a badass. He told the audience that the motorbike scene in this was pretty simple to do because he was a biker and based this on his experiences of hitting the road after a few drops too many!)

Big congrats go to the Barbican for hosting such an extensive and inspiring season dedicated to animation. Watch Me Move: The Animation Show runs from 15th June – 11th September 2011 and I implore you to go visit it.


About Cat Rose

I help creative introverts reach their goals through coaching sessions, step-by-step guides and my online community: the League of Creative Introverts. Big believer in the power of the mind, and the power of peanut butter.
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