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.