Review: ‘Jan Werich’s Fimfarum’

Five of beloved Czech storyteller's adult fairytales are brought to life in puppet animation anthology "Jan Werich's Fimfarum." While a pair of these shorts dated 1987 and 1991 may already have done the genre fest circuit, the five together comprise a sprightly work that will be well-received at fests, on the tube and in ancillary.

Five of beloved Czech storyteller’s cautionary adult fairytales are brought beguilingly to life in puppet animation anthology “Jan Werich’s Fimfarum,” that final part of the title being a mischievous nonsense word upon which one of the stories hinges. While a pair of these shorts dated 1987 and 1991 may already have done the genre fest circuit, the five together comprise a sprightly, eye-catching work that will be well-received at fests, on the tube and in ancillary.

First entry, 28-minute 1991 vintage “When the Leaves Fall From the Oak,” finds a farmer worming his way out of a pact with a rather fussy devil. Second tale, 25-minute collection highlight “Fearless Frankie” (2002), has the title character spending the night among strange creatures in a haunted pub; this is followed by 1987, 16-minute folktale “Greedy Barka” and lottery story “A Dream Fulfilled” (2000, 16 minutes). Climactic “Fimfarum” (2001, 25 minutes), tells of a cuckolded blacksmith gaining a measure of revenge. Animation is imaginative and elaborate, with styles of vet Pospisilova and 30-year-old Klimt blending nicely. Shorts are stitched together pleasantly by a jovial, live-action storytellerwhose face is never shown.

Jan Werich's Fimfarum

Czech Republic

Production

A Falcon release (in the Czech Republic) of a Kratky Film Prague, Studio Jiri Trinka, Czech TV production. Produced by Aurel Klimt, Martin Vandas. Directed byVlasta Pospisilova, Klimt.

Crew

Camera (color), Vladimir Malik, Zdenek Pospisil; editors, Jirina Pecova, Klimt, Jan Sladek; music, Petr Hapka, Petr Komar Soudek, Miroslav Korinek, Vladimir Merta, Miroslav Wanek. Reviewed at Finale Pilsen Film Festival (competing), April 1, 2003. Running time: 102 MIN.
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