A Ballad About Green Wood
A BALLAD ABOUT GREEN WOOD
(BALLADA O ZELENEM DREVU) 1983
RIDDLES FOR A CANDY
(HADANKY ZA BONBON) 1978
THE VANISHED WORLD OF GLOVES
(ZANIKLY SVET RUKAVIC) 1982

Director: Jiri Barta

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



A Ballad About Green Wood Stop motion animation shows split wood dancing & hopping along the snow-covered ground, interspersed with time-lapse that shows eruption of spring, thawing of ice, in Jiri Barta's A Ballad of Green Wood (Ballada o zelenem drevu, 1983).

One piece of split wood had a knot in the form of a woman's face. A crow puppet hacks the log into splinters, eats it, turns into a flying limb of bent wood.

Over the countryside the crow-winged stick flies, finding a candle-lit cavern, where it dwelt like an evil dragon until slain by the carving of an armored knight on horseback.

By the end of this eleven minute short, it is revealed, in the manner of "it was all a dream," to be "it was all wood used in a woodstove."


Riddles for CandyA strange partially bird-like creature explores the pages of a book of riddles, transforming as he goes, pursuing a piece of candy, in Riddles for a Candy (Hadanky za bonbon, 1978).

A different riddle appears on each page; the riddle posed, pondered, & the answer provided after many animated clues or possibilities are provided.

This is gloriously original stop-motion animation, oddly pretty, with intellectual content. There's a comingling of triumph, the bird-thing wanting the reward of the candy for knowing the riddles, & tragedy, the candy not wanting to be eaten.


The Vanished World of Gloves Reminding me of minor pieces by Jan Svankmajer, The Vanished World of Gloves (Sanikly svet rukavic, 1982) was one of the first Jiri Barta films I ever saw, mixed in with some Svankmajer films.

A laborer with a backhoe finds a buried collection of films from a lost world, a world where gloves lived as people.

Watching the damaged fragments, first on the reel is a Keystone Cops spoof acted out entirely by animated police gloves. Then there's a tragic tale of a man's glove & a woman's glove, with interloping military glove, resulting in murder.

Seven film genres are satirized, including a dystopian film of a tyrant leading his glove-people into the inferno of genocide & war; a Felliniesque tale of romanesque orgies & slutty women's gloves & a table-shaking earthquake of doom; & a science fiction tale of flying saucer & Godzilla-glove & apocollypse.

This weird film little, with an overall manner reminiscent of Bunuel, is strongly influenced by Jiri Trnka, as is just about everything by Jiri Barta. Even his studio was even named Trnka.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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