Jiří Barta is one of the stop-motion animation masters. He was born on 1948 in Prague. He learned animation at the University of Applied Art and began working on his first animation film in the Jiří Trnka Studios in 1978. Barta’s films are known their mysterious horror themes and his beautiful wooden curved puppets. His The Pied Piper (1986) is still considered a masterpiece of Czech animation today. This film was inspired by the German expressionism and medieval art, and you see the dark colors in this film. It’s very unique and beautiful. Many of his films nominated/won awards internationally include Cannes Film Festival, Czech Lions, and more. He is known as directed and written The Last Theft (1987), Diskzokej (1980), and Toys in the Attic (2009).
Barta was already a talented animator in an early stage of his animator career; however, he had a difficult time to release his films in Czechoslovakia for about 15 years because it was under censorship with the Communists. During the 1990’s, he worked the film, The Golem. It took more than 10 years for making it, and he finally completed a short pilot of it in 1996 but couldn’t make a whole film. The film story is based on the novel book; The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. According to the article “Magic against materialism” by the website Kinoeye, the author Phil Ballard interviewed Barta and asked about The Golem. Barta mentions he hired couple producers in the different times but had conflict ideas with them. Barta says, “Everyone is expecting a fairytale about that legend. Our interpretation is a little bit different, because we start from another point of view, which is Gustav Meyrink’s Golem…It is much more interesting, but I think that this is the reason why we have not moved forward, why the whole project has stopped, why some producers have disappeared, appeared and disappeared again.” This film is unfortunately ended as an unfinished.
Barta’s most recent film, Toys in the Attic is also one of the remarkable stop-motion animated film. It was directed by Barta, and written by Barta and Edgar Dutka. It was released on 2009 in Czech Republic and was released on 2012 in the USA. The English adaptation, written, casted, and directed by an American novelist as well as an actor and filmmaker, Vivian Schilling. The mediums are mixed with stop-motion, hand drawn, and live action. In a website; AWN.com’s interview, Barta mentions he wants use his most familiar medium for making this film, therefore he decided to do stop-motion and hand drawn animation. He believes computer is also important for him to do post productions, digital recoding, and special effects in the live actions. He also mentions another reason for using these classic mediums for this film. “Because of our concept to use an antique artistic and visual style. I think an antique style looks better done with live human animation techniques rather than with virtual CG animation” Barta says.
After Barta released Toys in the Attic, he focused creating animated advertisements, MTV logo, and more as an animator. He also became a professor of the Artistic Industrial University in Prague since 2001. He inspired both Czech and world animated film. Please watch the stop-motion animation master’s beautiful films from below links.
Yuki Onna (2013)
Toys in the Attic (2009)
Domecku Var! (2008)
Animated Self-Portraits (1989)
The Club of the Laid Off (1989)
The Last Theft (1987)
The Pied Piper (1986)
The Ballad of the Green Wood (1983)
The Vanished World of Gloves (1982)
Riddles for a Candy (1978)
Toys in the Attic (2009) https://youtu.be/XhwCKa_5ZRk
The Golem (Unfinished) https://youtu.be/ZcJFhiQMB8I
(Website) Kinoeye: “Magic against materialism, Czech animator Jiří Barta interviewed” by Phil Ballard
(Website)AWN.com: “The Magical Junk-Filled World of Jiří Barta” interviewed by Dan Sarto
(Website) IMDb – Jiří Barta