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Watch Me Move

15 JUNE - 11 SEPTEMBER 2011, BARBICAN CENTRE. Tracing the history of animation over the last 150 years, Watch Me Move: The Animation Show brings together for the first time, contemporary artists, cut-out, collage, puppet, clay and stop-motion animators, auteur filmmakers and exponents of experimental film alongside the creative output of the commercial studios such as Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Aardman, and Pixar. Presenting animation as a distinctive and highly influential force in the development of visual culture, this exhibition explores the relationship between animation and film and offers a timely insight into animation as a cultural and socio-political phenomenon.

Artists, film-makers and studios whose work is represented include: Aardman, Walt Disney, Studio Ghibli, Fleischer Studios, Eadward Muybridge, Lumière Brothers, Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, Francis Alÿs, William Kentridge, Christian Boltanski and Kara Walker and others. Czech work will be represented by Jan Švankmajer, Jiří Bárta and Jiří Trnka.

Watch Me Move on the Screen includes diretrospectives of two Czech filmakers:

Diretrospective: Jan Svankmajer
Bretislav Pojar: The Master of Puppet Animation

Directorspective: Jan Švankmajer

Thu 16 – Sun 25 Jun

Regarded as one of the world's foremost avant garde filmmakers, Jan Švankmajer is renowned for his unique vision and limitless imagination. From his first film in 1964, his singularly surreal, deliciously dark mixes of live action, animation and pioneering sound have influenced filmmakers from Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay. Born in 1934 in Prague, where he still lives and works, Švankmajer has been described as a "grand master not just of innovative animation techniques but of life itself".


Thu 16 Jun 7.30pm

ScreenTalk: Jan Švankmajer
The great Czech filmmaker joins us to open our summer of animation with a screening of Alice, followed by a Q&A with Peter Hames

Alice PG
Švankmajer’s award winning first feature length film presents an uncannily dark interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s well known fantasy world. This surrealist inspired combination of live action and stop motion animation sees Alice juxtaposed with a selection of eerie stuffed toys and animals. Topsy-turvy Carroll-esque absurdity meets Švankmajer's own-brand of grotesquery in this much imitated, never bettered gem.
Czechoslovakia 1988 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 84 min
Et Cetera
Vintage 2D Švankmajer, demonstrating both his masterful use of sound and sense of humour as an animated figure learns to use wings of increasing sizes, train a circus creature and the importance of doors.
Czechoslovakia 1966 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 8 min.


Sun 19 Jun 3.45pm

Surviving Life (Theory & Practice) 15*
A married man (Václav Helsus) falls in love with the woman of his dreams – literally. Sent to a shrink to unravel what this could mean - in whose office portraits of Freud and Jung provide pithy commentary on the proceedings - he taps an unconcious world both playful and painful. Billed as a psycohoanalytical comedy, this dazzlingly inventive mix of animation and live action wowed at Venice 2010 and features a delightful cameo by the great director himself.
Czech Rep, Slovakia, Japan 2010 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 105 min.
Dimensions of Dialogue
This iconic, Berlin Golden Bear winning three part exploration of communication introduced the world to the mind of Jan Švankmajer, and was counted by Terry Gilliam as one of the best animated films of all time.
Czechoslovakia 1983 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 12 min.


Sat 25 Jun 3.45pm

Little Otik (Otesanek)15
A childless couple longing for a baby and a little girl in need of a friend get more than they wished for when an inanimate stump of wood takes on a disturbing life of its own. Based on a Czech folk tale about a monstrous creature with an all-consuming appetite, Švankmajer’s gleeful horror-comedy sees this malevolent Pinocchio’s new Gepetto’s face both the downside of parenting, and the terrifying consequences of tampering with natural order.  
Czechoslovakia 2000 Dir. Jan Švankmajer 132 min.  
Darkness-Light- Darkness (Tma/Svetlo/Tma)
Clever, quirky, funny and surreal, this fascinating film sees a claymation body gradually construct itself from just a hand when it’s other component parts come calling.
Czechoslovakia 1990 Jan Švankmajer 7 min.

Bretislav Pojar

Bretislav Pojar – The Master of Puppet Animation

Sat 2 Jul

Family Film Club
Watch Me Move - Little by Little!
This morning's Family Film Club is a short film programme made up of the most wonderful examples of stop motion animation ever created! We're delighted to be able to feature wonderful archive offerings such as rarely seen work by Czech animation master Břetislav Pojar, and we'll also be screening a host of familiar favourites such as The Wombles.
See web for full details.
No unaccompanied adults.


Tue 5 Jul 7pm

Bretislav Pojar – The Master of Puppet Animation + Q&A PG*
A timely focus on one of the most important Czech animators and an unmissible opportunity to hear the celebrated director talk about his work.
A close colleague of acclaimed animator Jiri Trnka, Břetislav Pojar began his apprenticeship at the AFIT (Studio of Film & Special Effects) in 1942, where he worked on a number of Trnka’s films.  A pioneer in puppet animation at the Czech Animation School, within ten years Pojar was a master of animation in his own right, famed for his ability to imbue his many characters with a level of dramatic expression that is magical to behold.  According to Pojar, animation is akin to hypnotism - “When someone isn’t much of a hypnotist, the puppet moves. When he is good, the puppet lives his life like each of us.”
This is a rare chance to see some of Pojar’s groundbreaking and award winning films, followed by a Q&A with the director and his producer Michal Podhradsky.

A Drop Too Much
Described by Pojar as “step into the unknown”, A Drop too Much represented the first push down his own creative path and caught the attention of the animation world, with prizes from Cannes, Edinburgh and more. Stopping at an inn on his way to see his girlfriend, a young motorcyclist can’t resist joining in with a wedding toast, with dramatic consequences. 
Czechoslovakia 1953, puppet animation, 19 min.

The Lion and the Song
This multi-award winning, utterly beautiful film is a lyrical allegory for the struggle of art against power, in which a travelling harlequin encounters a fearsome lion in the desert. An unmissible animation classic.
Czechoslovakia 1959, puppet animation, 15min.

A Few Words of Introduction
Pojar’s wickedly humourous satire pokes gentle fun at a speechmaker so enamoured with the sound of his own voice, he is oblivious to the effect he is having on his audience. Pojar details their bafflement, fidgets, whispers and snores with great imagination.
Czechoslovakia 1962, puppet animation, 11 min.

A coquettish young woman looking for love and happiness changes her mind - and her devotees - in the rhythm of twist. Action and soundtrack are one in this smooth and sultry gem.
Czechoslovakia 1962, puppet (relief), 14min.

Darwin/Anti-Darwin or What the Rain Worm Didn’t Suspect
Although a famous puppeteer, Pojar was also a skilled 2D artist as this pointed satire shows.  A tragi-comic paraphrasing of Darwin's theory of evolution, in which a worm evolves into man and then wishes it hadn’t.  
Czechoslovakia 1969, cut-out animation, 7 min.

Nightangel / The Romance from the Darkness
A young man is obsessed with a mysterious angelic spirit, and following a tragic accident, finds solace in her love. Made during Pojar’s time as one of the Canadian Film Board animators, this partnership with colleague Jacques Drouin is a seamless blend of puppet animation and the rarely used pin screen technique, mixing realism with evocative, dreamlike imagery. 
Czechoslovakia, Canada 1986, puppet, pin screen, 18 min.

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