Sunday, 27 March 2011

Jiří Barta | November 26, 1948 – Present
Fig 1 | Jiří Barta

Jiří Barta is an animated director, artist and animator who became notorious personality of both the animated and Czech film industry. Barta uses the medium of wood, to create his characters and sets then by using stop motion to animate. His works has received great feedback winning grand prizes at prestigious film festivals such as ‘The Pied Piper’ and ‘The Extinct World Of Gloves’. In recent years he has focused his work on teaching and moreover for commercial reason such as, animated advertisements, MTV logo, illustrations on DVD and many more.  However the true testament to his talent for animating as well as creation came in the form of his award winning work the ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’
Fig 2 | The Pied Piper Of Hamelin - Arguing At The Market

 The film depicts the classic poem of how the Pied Piper saves the town of Hamelin from a rat infestation and in return gets undercut by the leaders and his employer when he comes for payment. In retaliation the Pied Piper morphs the villagers into rats and leads them to the edge of the cliff into the river where they drown.  In Barta’s interpretation he created...a fascinating metaphor for the decay of a society focused on material demands’ (Ivana Košuličová) in result ‘creates a striking contrast to the Disney conception of the Pied Piper legend as a children’s comedy. Barta’s adaption is a challenging and metaphoric morality that continues in the Czech tradition of Pied Piper adaptation begin by Viktor Dyk in literature’(Ivana Košuličová). Furthermore this was credited advantage to Barta works as he does not hesitate to probe the dark side of ‘The Pied Piper’ (Zipes, 2010; 213) . What was noticeable however was the original story had children which weren’t the same as Barta interpretation ‘Children do not appear in the harrowing adaptation, nor are they abducted. They are behind the scenes, so to speak. Barta is more concerned with revealing the materialism of the entire populace of a medieval town. Rich and poor alike are absorbed by making money’ (Zipes, 2010; 213). It is noticeable at this point that Barta seems to draw parallel with the political sickness and contamination of today’s society and the ruthless competition globally – undermining the basic ethical behaviour of people for materialistic game. Quite evidently showing that Barta uses his method of animation in a similar way, which is parallel to Jan Švankmajer who also used his work for political views and other issues in society.
Fig 3 | The Pied Piper Of Hamelin - Pied Piper

However his ending though supplies hopes as the fisherman enters the deserted town and finds a child in a cradle, then carries the baby from the town to safety which was Barta intended. Yet the prominent vision of the wooden puppets, gives a dark and creepy persona tearing away from this fact. Arguably, stating that although a successful piece, his work with carvings has limits to dark genres. However, with this ability he was able to spin the fable to suit circumstances of the current climate and moreover show personal opinions on the topics.

Fig 1  :
Fig 2 Barta, Jiří  (1986) ‘The Pied Piper Of Hamelin - Arguing In The Market
[Film Still] The Pied Piper Of Hamelin

Fig 3  Barta, Jiří (1986) ‘The Pied Piper Of Hamelin - Pied Piper
[Film Still] The Pied Piper Of Hamelin

Košuličová Ivana Barta, Jiri,

Jiří Barta. The Pied Piper

Richardson, Michael (2006) Surrealism and Cinema, 1st Floor, Angel Court, 81 St Clements Street, Oxford, OX4 1AW, UK : Berg Publisher
Wright, Jean Ann (2005) Animation Writing and Development: From Script Development To Pitch, Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP,UK : Focal Press
Zipes, Jack(2010) The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films,270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY: Taylor & Francis

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