Film Series : The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka



1950, Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 75 min.

Show Times

  • Sun, Jun 17th 3:45pm
  • Wed, Jun 20th 6:00pm

"An expressionist gem of stop-motion medieval fantasy." - Michael Sragow, Film Comment

Trnka's third feature is a medieval-set fairy tale, based on a book that he illustrated in his younger days. Sumptuously visualized, with a superb score by Václav Trojan and sung narration by a boys choir, it tells of a peasant lad whose dead mother appears to him in the form of a white horse. She takes him to the gloomy castle of a king with three daughters; he falls in love with the youngest and battles to release all three from the evil spell of a hydra-like dragon whose heads proliferate faster than the brave youth can lop them off. Highlights include a beautifully staged jousting tournament, and a court-jester character whose casual mistreatment darkens the fairy-tale atmosphere. Trnka's daughter Helena declared this her favorite of her father's films and saw in the multi-headed dragon an analog for the repressive state bureaucracy with which Trnka had to contend. When it was released in France, BAYAYA was lauded in a lengthy Cahiers du Cinéma review by a certain Christian (later Chris) Marker. In Czech with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)

Photo courtesy of Czech National Film Archive.

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first Jiri Trnka program on any applicable Sunday this month, and get a ticket for the second Trnka program that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

Play Trailer