ARCHANDEL GABRIEL A PANI HUSA (1965)
aka Archangel Gabriel and Mistress Goose
Article 5311 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jiri Trnka
What it is: Animated Decameron tale
A monk seduces a woman by a disguising himself as the archangel Gabriel. However, when word gets around, her relatives lay in wait to seize the impostor.
Jiri Trnka was a master of animated puppet animation, and this adaptation of a bawdy tale from the Decameron shows him in top form. For me, one of the most interesting accomplishments in this short is that it takes a literary tale and makes it entirely visual; the only place where subtitles are needed are during the opening credits, and any conversation that takes place during the short is muttered gibberish. In this, Trnka combines puppet animation with cutout animation (similar to Terry Gilliam’s style), though the latter is used mostly during the opening credits and the first scene, in which the monk preaches about salvation and damnation using only gesture, music and visual cues. I particularly like the little character gestures Trnka gives his characters. The main fantastic content is the use of an angel, and though it’s a man in disguise, the real archangel Gabriel makes a fleeting appearance.