the rat catcher

4 10 2011

based on a medieval german fairy tale THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN czechoslovak film director JIRI BARTA produced in 1986 the 53 min long puppet-animated movie THE PIED PIPER ( ‘Krysař’ in czech, what means THE RAT CATCHER ). the whole jiří trnka studio KRATKY FILM was involved in what was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of Czech animation. research and preproduction time took six months, the filming with puppets up to 60 cm tall one year. barta’s ‘horror’-film creates a striking contrast to the disney version of the pied piper legend as a children’s comedy, his fascinating metaphor for a society focused on material demands comes to life in a very artistic style, heavily influenced by german expressionistic painters like EMIL NOLDE, MAX BECKMANN, ERICH HECKEL, CARL HOFER, ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER, MAX PECHSTEIN, KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF and KAETHE KOLLWITZ – but as well by medieval wooden sculpture artists like JOERG SYRLIN, HANS MULTSCHER and TILMAN RIEMENSCHNEIDER. interesting is the similarity in the tilted angles and twisted shapes in the environment of the 1920 silent horror film THE CABINET OF DR.CALIGARI directed by ROBERT WIENE. below some of the stylized sets of the puppet-animated film and the reference art that was probably used.





…following a collection of reference art that could have been used



© kratky film prague

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2 responses

4 10 2011
j.etienne

the jiri Barta 3D backgrounds are terrific! We watched “Caligari” at school when I was 12 and I remember its “twisted” architecture quite well.

4 10 2011
Michael Sporn

Is The Rat Catcher available on DVD. It looks extraordinary. In a couple of small pieces I played with the same stylized settings of Caligari – with mixed results. I want to do more with this. Why are there NO cgi films that have tried it? Such a lack of creativity in that part of the business.

from hans –
good question. most filmmakers are afraid of too much ‘art’ in their films, the audience might not like it. but there will be a film out next year very close to that style, and in 2D. I will write more about it on time. as for the PIED PIPER, I am pretty sure it is not available on DVD. the you tube version is halfway ok.

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