THE PIED PIPER (KRYSAR), 1986, Czechoslovakia, 53 min. Director Jirí Barta's stop-motion animated masterpiece, based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, is set in a dark and twisted medieval village of narrow streets and weird Gothic arches, half-CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and half-Jan van Eyck. The money-obsessed citizens, carved out of wood blocks and speaking in an onomatopoeic babble, are like George Grosz caricatures, literally spouting coins from their mouths instead of words. The rats are far more organic and sympathetic, made of real fur and whiskers, constantly tunneling and burrowing under the towering arches and cobblestone streets above. (In one of the film's many surreal moments, a rat emerges from a gargoyle's gaping maw.) Fans of fellow Czech animation legend Jan Švankmajer and the Brothers Quay will adore Barta's eerie, Expressionist gem, recently restored for it's first-ever U.S. Blu-ray release through Krátký Film Praha, Deaf Crocodile and Comeback Company.
"Barta's mastery of all aspects of filmmaking are evident: staging, production design, lighting, animation, editing, sound and music combine into dark worlds of repression and revolt with ironic conclusions." - Phil Tippett (MAD GOD).