16 August 2003 | ofumalow
Bleak, pungently flavorful semi-animated fantasy
Jiri Barta's 1986 Pied Piper is a quintessentially dyspeptic, adult piece of Eastern Euro animation whose take on the classic morality fable is even more misanthropic than Jacques Demy's version. Here, a medieval town of avaricious, gluttonous bourgeoise is overrun by rats (the only live-action element, adding an extra grotesque dimension). Instead of a mischevious minstrel, the Piper who rids them of those pesky vermin is more like a cruel avenging angel-when betrayed, his bitterly ironic redress departs considerably from the tale's usual ending. Complete with stop-motion puppet rape and murder, these stunningly visualized 55 minutes are not quite apt for children.