Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962)

I saw earlier today a 35 mm print of Czech animation wizard Karel Zeman's Baron Prásil, also known with the title of the subject line. In Finnish, it's been called Parooni Münchhausenin uskomattomat seikkailut. I don't know what's with the Baron Prásil thing, but that's not very important here.

I wrote earlier (three years ago!) about Zeman's other film (see here) and said that his films resemble the silent cinema. It's like we're seeing everything for the first time. It's a cinema of marvels and rare beauty. It's also the cinema of laughter and joy. And it fits Zeman made his film about Münchhausen whose adventures have brought us laughter and joy for many decades.

Zeman's technique - the mixing of live actors with animated backgrounds - works very well here. Everything is very exotic and strange and beautiful. This is also cinema of optimism, even though there's a healthy strand of satire as well.

Zeman's film is also an important precursor to steampunk, mixing modern heroes and inventions with steamboats, air balloons, flying horses and such. It's no wonder Terry Gilliam was impressed by the film.

This is a trailer someone made to commemmorate Zeman's film. More Overlooked Films here.

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