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A Midsummer Night's Dream
(Sen noci svatojanske)

Introduction by series curator Irena Kovarova
Directed by Jiri Trnka.
Czechoslovakia, 1959, 35mm, color, 72 min.
In English.
Print source: Czech National Film Archive

In this bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale, the love lives of mortals and forest sprites mingle during one magical moonlit evening. Trnka deploys the full force of his imagination and technical wizardry to evoke the story’s enchanted-woodlands setting, a garlanded, pastel dreamscape awash in starry-night atmosphere, colorful festoons of flowers, and exquisitely wrought fantasy creatures. The graceful puppetry combined with the Vaclav Trojan score and members of the Royal Shakespeare Company yields a masterpiece of surpassing, balletic beauty.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sen noci svatojanske) introduction by Haden Guest and Irena Kovarova. ©Harvard Film Archive

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  • Romance with a Double Bass (Roman s basou)

    Directed by Jiří Trnka.
    Czechoslovakia, 1949, DCP, color, 13 min.
    Czech with English subtitles.
    DCP source: Czech National Film Archive

This dreamily beautiful puppet work adapts a short story by Chekhov into a magical, moonlit reverie about a musician, a princess, and a chance encounter while night-swimming.

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.