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Bayaya
(Bajaja)

Directed by Jiri Trnka.
Czechoslovakia, 1950, DCP, color, 75 min.
Czech with English subtitles.
DCP source: Czech National Film Archive

Based on a pair of Czech fables, this rousing, medieval-set adventure charts the exploits of a young peasant whose dead mother returns in the form of a white horse, whisking him away on a quest to free her soul from purgatory and save three princesses from a host of hydra-headed dragons. Balancing moments of atmospheric lyricism with vigorous action sequences, the third feature-length collaboration between Trnka and composer Vaclav Trojan—who contributes a stirring, cantata-like score set to text by Surrealist writer Vitezslav Nezval—confirms the pair to be a creative partnership as fruitful as Eisenstein and Prokofiev or Hitchcock and Herrmann.

PRECEDED BY

  • Song of the Prairie (Arie prerie)

    Directed by Jiří Trnka.
    1949, DCP, color, 20 min.
    No dialogue.
    DCP source: Czech National Film Archive

One of Trnka’s most delightfully silly efforts is a slapstick spoof of John Ford’s Stagecoach and Hollywood singing-cowboy Westerns based on a popular novel by Jiri Brdecka, who would later pen his own adaptation, the cult favorite Lemonade Joe (1964).

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