Everyone knows The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, a tale of the big, but tragic love of a mermaid to a human. Jan Balej relocates this story to the realities of a gloomy seaport. The fish king and his family are forced to leave the depths of the sea and take residence in a fish shop. The king’s youngest daughter, Little, falls in love with a human.
The animation in Balej’s feature is nothing short of charming. It is one of the first feature films originating from the Czech Republic to blend stop motion with CGI. Balej creates a grotesque, bizarre world where the sensitive Little experiences her first, tragic love. The ambience of the film is underscored by the atmospheric music by a French composer, Chapelier Fou. The creator of the film, Jan Balaj, is not unfamiliar to the attendees of Etiuda&Anima. He specializes in puppet animation, following in the footsteps of the old Czech masters of this form of animation. He is a graduate of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM) in Prague, and an author of children’s animations (Tom Thumb – 1994, Doings of the Hippopotamus Family – 2000, Karlík, the Little Golden Fish – 2010; and adult animations (Fimfárum 2 – 2006, One Night in a City/Jedné noci v jednom městě – 2007). His work is characterized by an original style that relies heavily on hyperbole and grotesque.
Little from the Fish Shop (dir. Jan Balej, Czech/Slovakia/Germany 2015, 72’)
Małopolska Garden of Arts (Large Screening Room)
26th November (Thursday), 9 p.m.