Film Series : The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka

The Emperor's Nightingale

Císařův slavík

1948, Jiří Trnka and Miloš Makovec, Czechoslovakia, 72 min.

Show Times

  • Sun, Jun 10th 3:45pm
  • Wed, Jun 13th 6:00pm

"A masterpiece... The film triumphs because Trnka draws equal inspiration from the court's ingenuity and the nightingale's earthy lyricism. It's a perfect launch pad for the two sides of his genius." - Michael Sragow, Film Comment

One of Trnka's sublime achievements, this adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story is a poignant and exquisitely animated tale in which the toys, dolls, and Chinese curios in a lonely child's bedroom come to life in his dream. Puppet animation portrays the lavish world of an ancient Chinese court, where the song of a nightingale charms the emperor with its pure song, until he comes under the spell of the simulated bird calls of a music box. Trnka lavishes an extravagant scope of invention on scores of characters of the court, from high to low, robed in a riot of rich velvets, brocades, lace, and filigree, and sets in motion awe-inspiringly cunning mechanical devices and creatures for an eye-filling hallucinatory experience not to be missed. No dialogue. 35mm. (BS)

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.)

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