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Old Czech Legends
(Stare povesti ceske)

Directed by Jiri Trnka.
Czechoslovakia, 1952, DCP, color, 91 min.
Czech with English subtitles.
DCP source: Czech National Film Archive

A treasure trove of Bohemian myths are brought to life by Trnka’s magical puppet work in this folkloric hymn to the Czech land, history, and people newly restored by the Czech National Film Archive. Based on a tome by the “Czech Sir Walter Scott” Alois Jirasek and the medieval chronicle of Cosmas, it illustrates seven fabled historical episodes, including the settling of an Edenic ancient Bohemia, the tale of an all-female revolt led by a cast-out princess, and the legend of a weak-willed king whose passion for gold nearly destroys his kingdom. It all culminates in a breathtaking climactic battle sequence—a tour de force of editing, music, and stop-motion (employing more than seventy figurines) that plays like puppet Kurosawa. New digital restoration.

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Jiri Trnka, Puppet Master

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Devour the Land: Cinema, landscape, history.