Starewitch and Švankmajer visit Hans Christian Andersen and Lewis Carroll, using animated toys. La petite parade is the imaginative version of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which in Starewitch’s hands undergoes an incredible stop-motion transformation. Carroll’s pre-surrealist poem “Jabberwocky” fires the imagination of Švankmajer, who set it in a room where Victorian dolls and other objects come to life in a very strange way, foretelling his first full-length film, Alice. Russian filmmaker Yuri Norstein is, according to specialists, one of the best animators of all time. He has been working for 20 years on The overcoat, a full-length film based on Gogol’s short story. Since we can’t show this film, which is a work in progress, we present Norstein’s major work Tale of tales, a story made up of fragments, half reality, half dream, with the collaboration of Russian writer Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, a film admired by both Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers. We also present a little seen early film of the Quays, Ein Brudermord, which picks up the dreamlike state of some of Kafka’s texts. Ein Brudermord is freely based on A fratricide and is an early example of the typical, almost scientific precision and observation of the Quays’ work. Švankmajer’s version of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher places the spotlight on the house itself, bringing it to life with its textures and still animation in one of the Czech filmmaker’s most elegant films.
La Petite parade (The little parade), L. Starewitch, 1928, 35 mm, silent, 25 min; Jabberwocky, J. Švankmajer, 1971, 35 mm, 13 min; Skazka skazok (Tale of tales), Yuri Norstein, 1979, 35 mm, 28 min; Ein Brudermord, Brothers Quay, 1980, video, 5 min; Zánik domu Usheru (The fall of the house of Usher), J. Švankmajer, 1980, 35 mm, 15 min.