Karel Zeman's masterpiece!
The Jester's Tale is a wonderful adventure film by Czech special effects and animation master Karel Zeman. Set during the Thirty Years' War, this charming tale of two deserters proves how far you can go on a tiny budget. The outstanding hand drawn sets and backdrops make the film look like an epic.
Reminiscent of Matthaus Merian, the drawn backdrops are a sight to behold. Used in tandem with stop-motion animation, The Jester's Tale is a really interesting experience of a movie. Some parts feel like you're watching a Monty Python animation, it's no surprise that Gilliam has listed Zeman as an influence. Two hundred soldiers are turned into an army of thousands through these drawn backdrops, a small set is turned into a giant medieval landscape.
The main location of the movie is a castle and it amazes me how they managed to make the interior look bigger and more grand than it is. Plain walls have been turned by these grand drawings into impossible 3D hallways, like a merging of Escher and 3D Street Art. The drawings are so detailed that it's sometimes hard to tell what's real and what isn't.
Co-scripted by Czech New Wave screenwriter Pavel Juracek, the film also manages to satirize the Thirty Years' War and war itself. There's a lot of fun to be had with these delightful characters as we join in on their journey. The Jester's Tale is a film that I'd like to recommend to everyone.
Original Czech dvd release is new.
Spoken language: Czech
Subtitles: English, Czech
Region: Free, All region, PAL
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