Film Series : The Puppet Master: The Complete Jiří Trnka

The Good Soldier Švejk

Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka

1954, Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 74 min.

Show Times

  • Sun, Jun 24th 3:30pm
  • Wed, Jun 27th 6:00pm

"For me, the biggest surprise [of the retrospective] is Trnka's blithe adaptation of THE GOOD SOLDIER ŠVEJK. Who would have thought an animator would be the ideal interpreter for a slippery Czech grunt who survives World War I?" - Michael Sragow, Film Comment

This adaptation of Jaroslav Hašek's 1930 satirical antiwar novel (which inspired Joseph Heller's "Catch-22") represents a move away from Trnka's usual folkloric/fairy-tale world toward more contemporary subjects and more explicit social commentary. The novel has been adapted several times as a live-action feature, but Trnka's stop-motion animation puppets, along with visuals patterned after Josef Lada's famed illustrations for the book, prove remarkably effective at capturing the absurdities and rigidities of military/authoritarian rule. A case in point is Švejk's characteristic walk, arms and legs swinging like a wind-up toy's, which functions as a droll reductio ad absurdum of parade-ground discipline. Trnka condenses Hašek's picaresque epic to three episodes, each centered on the eponymous infantryman whose apparent idiocy overpowers his exasperated superiors. 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