Dva mrazici (1953)
Article 5525 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jiri Trnka
Featuring the voices of Jan Werich and Vlasta Burian
What it is: Comic fantasy
Two frost spirits seek to freeze two human travelers in the woods; one is a sleeping carriage rider and the other is an industrious lumberjack.
Here’s another short from the oeuvre of Jiri Trnka, and here he combines two different types of animation. The non-spirit characters (two humans and a bird) are in Trnka’s usual puppet-animation mode, while the two spirits are apparently animated in a style known as “shadow puppet animation”; the overall effect of the latter is that it looks like conventional cel animation layered over the puppet animation. This one has dialogue between the two frost spirits; from what I gather, they’re voiced by two well-known Czech comic actors, and those who understand the language (which don’t include me) say that the dialogue adds a lot of fun to the proceedings. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed and appreciated this one; most of the action is visual, with the one spirit being very successful in freezing the carriage rider, but the other often finds himself frustrated in his task because the lumberjack is too industrious to let the cold settle into his bones. It’s not the best of the Trnka shorts I’ve seen, but I like it quite a bit, and it is worth catching.