Starting with Fimfarum, a puppet stop motion animation, i've decided to watch an animation per day to help further my knowledge and understanding of the medium.
Fimfárum Jana Wericha was directed by Aurel Klimt and Vlasta Pospísilová in 2002 which presents five independent stories deriving from Czech folktale. The first of these, "When Leaves Fall from the Oak," tells of how a drunken peasant makes a deal with the devil, whom that man subsequently outwits. The second, "Fearless Frankie," relates how the father of a young man who is afraid of nothing arranges for his son to spend a night in a tavern where the spirits of the dead gather to gamble and cavort. The third, "Mean Barbara," revolves around the efforts of various persons to dispose of the body of a miserly old woman. The fourth, "A Dream Fulfilled," is about an elderly farmer who squanders his money playing the lottery, and the last tale, "Fimfárum," centers on a blacksmith with a scheming, unfaithful wife who is forced to perform a variety of impossible tasks.
Fimfarum is beautifully visual example of traditional puppetry and stop-motion anitaion which has been combined with some strange but interesting Czech folktale. In particular, the environments are very surreal and artistic, which combined with the strange and uncanny puppets create very interesting worlds. However, i would have liked to have seen a darker art direction on these stories as they are very light hearted. One story In particular, "When Leaves Fall from the Oak", which deals with the devil and we see the character go through hell, doesn't have enough vigour and conviction in its exuction of art direction. I really felt the animators could have gone to town with the style and visual aesthetic of these scenes. However, i did like their interpretation of hell, which did have some artistic style. Overall, i loved the short Czech animations mainly because theyre completely different to the kinds of folktale we are used to and the puppetry was wonderful to watch, with beautifully simplistic environments, models and characters.