10 August 2005 | meddlecore
Trnka's Final Masterpiece!
An absolutely brilliant film! Jiri Trnka, the master of puppet animation, confronts totalitarianism in this, his final, film. It would be banned by the Communist Czechoslovakian government (at the time), despite taking the country's highest animation award.
In this dark and entertaining short film, an artist attempts to create a new pot for his favourite plant. He happily makes his creations while dreaming that his plant will grow to be a beautiful rose. All of a sudden, he here's a knock at the door, and in comes this giant omnipotent hand, that tries to force the artist to make statues in it's likeness. The artist resists as best he can, but he eventually becomes overwhelmed by the constant attempts, by the hand, to force him to conform. He becomes brainwashed; an intellectual zombie. At this point the hand attaches strings to the artist, puts him in a cage, and uses him to make hand statues. All the while glorifying the artist's work and awarding him with medals and honours.
The artist's inner lust to be able to express himself freely is what helps him prevail over his indoctrination, and enables him escape his prison, whether it be literal or in his mind, and return to his home where he now must live in constant fear of the wrath of the omnipotent hand. He shuts himself in, thinking he is out of the reach of the almighty hand, but in the process he puts his plant and pot up high, hoping it is out of the reach of the hand, only to have it fall on his head and kill him. The artist is inevitably destroyed by his own creation. All because of the constant fear he had to live with once he escaped the hand's strings. Once dead, the hand paints the artist as a great person, a national hero. Unfortunately not in the circumstances or for the reasons that the artist would like to be remembered.
Trnka's condemnation of Totalitarian society, and their lack of right for free expression is dark, damning and an amazingly animated. It is no wonder the government banned it as this is the sort of media that people admire, and would perhaps even listen to. That was obviously not acceptable. An amazing example of an artists civil disobedience and the impact it can have. And still quite relevant today for many parts of the world, from the US to the middle east. A must see and definite 10 out of 10! Talk about going out with a bang!