Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The other kind of European cinema

When people think of European cinema they often think of black and white film, hand-held camera and existential truth shown at 24 frames a second. And of course there’s quite a bit of that and really, who does it better? The problem is that there are geniuses of European cinema like Czech animator and film fantasist Karel Zeman who then don’t fit the pre-conceived image and end up far lesser-known than they should be.

Fear not though, as this injustice is set to end with a May 11 screening of Zeman’s version of the legendary adventures of Baron Munchausen – “Baron Prášil” – at the University of Texas. For more on the man whose film versions of the books of Jules Verne are unrivaled (including by Jules Verne’s originals).

And to complete the European animation double bill a report from the recent AniFest, a major international animation festival held in the Czech town of Teplice in which 15,000 visitors watched almost 500 films. The festival’s Grand Prize winner was “Divers in the Rain” by Estonians Olga and Priit Pärnovi.

More on the festival at http://www.anifest.cz/

Coming next: An interview with a Polish animator who screened her work at AniFest and whose documentary-feature animation presents the history of clothing through the main character’s traveling back in time in a magic wardrobe.

(Photo courtesy of the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin)

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