Inspirace (1949)

Inspirace (1949)
Article 5479 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-11-2017
Directed by Karel Zeman
Featuring Karel Zeman
Country: Czechoslovakia
What it is: Inspiration in miniature

A maker of glass figurines tries to find inspiration on a rainy day, and dreams of a world inside a drop of water on a leaf.

I’ve long been a fan of the work of fantasist Karel Zeman, but until now, I’ve not delved into any of his early shorts; I thank the friend who pointed me in the direction of this one. It’s a beautifully rendered short, the central scene of which involves a world existing inside a drop of water on a leaf, and a dandelion seed invades the drop, turns into a clown and becomes enamored with a dancing ice skater. This sequence is done in stop motion animation, and if an eleven-minute short can be described as an epic fantasy, this is one, albeit one that is fragile. The short is bookended by some live-action footage of the artist at work, who we only see through the glass of a rain-spattered window. There are also sequences that are reminiscent of the experimental abstract shorts I’ve been known to cover. It’s quite breathtaking, and very unlike the other work I’ve seen from Zeman, but I’m not really surprised; he mastered so many types of special effects that I’d almost expect him to show excellence in a form like this one. This one is highly recommended.

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