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Merry Circus

  • Directed by Jiří Trnka
  • Czechoslovakia, 1951, 12 mins., Czech

Trnka brings to life a surrealist circus of tightrope-walking fish, musical monkeys, balancing bears, and high-flying acrobatics in this whimsical feat of cut-out animation made in collaboration with leading Czech painters of the era.

Genres: Animation

Other Films by Jiří Trnka

A Star from the Start: Early Jiří Trnka Shorts

Trnka’s early shorts work quickly established him as a master filmmaker. This program includes The Animals and the Brigands (1946), Springman and the SS (1946), The Gift (1946), Romance with Double Bass (1949), Song of the Prairie (1949), Merry Circus (1951), and The Two Frosts (1954).

The Czech Year

Trnka established his reputation as a world-renowned master of puppet animation with his Venice prize-winning first feature, a kinetic visual symphony bursting with music and dance that celebrates the customs and folklore of the Czech people. Composed of six short episodes—the final of which, Bethlehem, was Trnka’s first-ever attempt at puppet animation—it traces one year

The Emperor’s Nightingale

Trnka’s adaptation of a classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is an enchanting animated jewel box. Framed by live action sequences—about a lonely boy shut away from fun and play—the story unfolds as a child’s dream vision, a tale of illusion versus reality in which a Chinese emperor is ensorcelled first by the song of

Mature Mastery: Late Jiří Trnka Shorts

This program of late-career Trnka works includes The Good Soldier Švejk Part 3 (1954), Passion (1962), Cybernetic Grandma (1962), and Archangel Gabriel and Mistress Goose (1965), and The Hand (1965).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In this bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale, the love lives of mortals and forest sprites mingle during one magical moonlit evening. In his final feature—also the first CinemaScope film made in Czechoslovakia—Trnka deploys the full force of his imagination and technical wizardry to evoke the story’s enchanted woodlands setting, a garlanded, pastel dreamscape