Sunday, October 21, 2012

Císařův slavík / The Emperor's Nightingale

[Keisarin satakieli] / Kejsarens näktergal. CZ 1949. PC: Studio Kresleného a Loutkového Filmu. P: Bohumír Buriánek. D: Jiří Trnka. Live action D: Miloš Makovec. SC: Jiří Trnka, Jiří Brdečka – contribution: Vítězslav Nezval - based on the fairy-tale Nattergal (1843) by H.C. Andersen – several translations in Finnish. DP: Ferdinand Pecenka (live action). Agfacolor. Lab: Barrandov. AN (movement of puppets): Bohuslav Šrámek, Břetislav Pojar, Jan Karpaš, Zdeněk Hrabě, Stanislav Latal. Design: Jiří Trnka, Milena Neubauerová, Karel Sobotka, František Braun, Erik Miloš Bülow, Josef Zdrůbecký, Karel Mázel, Ludvík Hájek. M: Václav Trojan – perf: FISYO – conductor: Otakar Pařík – singing: the child choir of the Bohemian Singing Choir – chorister: Jan Kühn. ED: Helena Lebdušková. C: Helena Patočková, Jaromír Sobota. Dialogueless. 2069 m / 76 min. Not released in Finland. Print from Národní filmový archiv (Prague). Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Jiří Trnka), 21 Oct 2012.

A sick and lonely boy has to stay in bed on his birthday while a girl waits outside the gates for him to come out and play in the woods. Examining the toys in his room the boy has a dream based on Andersen's fairy-tale about the emperor's nightingale. The emperor of China is almost crushed by the court routine, and when he hears the nightingale outside he is given an artificial nightingale. Everybody is euphoric at first, but the brilliant tune of the artificial nightingale always remains the same and makes the emperor mortally sick. Only the real nightingale can save the emperor from impending death. When it returns in the boy's dream he gets up, throws his ball through the window and runs with the girl to the depth of the green forest.

A masterpiece with memorable features: - A virtual silent (dialogueless) movie, driven by the beautiful music by Václav Trojan, with charming violin solos for the real nightingale - The solitude of the boy - Voyage autour de ma chambre: the boy imagines the fairy-tale based on his toys - The emperor of China paints a model moustache for himself on the mirror - His mechanical swan lake - Paradis artificiels - there is even a singing pike, just like the statue by Reijo Hukkanen erected in August 2012 in front of the Helsinki Music Center, inspired by the surrealistic poem "Hauen laulu" ["The Song of the Pike"] by Aaro Hellaakoski - In Trnka's movie the song of the pike is conveyed by a theremin - The astrologist sees a little Chinese girl by the gates with his telescope - The episode with the frog and the parasol has a funny jazzy theme music - Only the little girl can approach the elusive nightingale - Interesting triangle and circle masks and vignettes in the episode with the Chinese lanterns and fireworks - Although the real nightingale is discovered the artificial one gets the applause - The little girl rows along the stream - The spring of the mechanical bird is broken - There is a weird sequence on the graveyard.

A print with beautiful colour from Národní filmový archiv.

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