films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


A Midsummer Night's Dream

Sen Noci Svatojánské
1959 / 76m - Czechoslovakia
Romance, Fantasy - Animation
A Midsummer Night's Dream poster

Old puppet animation based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Adapting Shakespeare isn't the most original of ideas, but I will admit that it fits the style, especially with all the fantasy elements presents. Still, I would've preferred to see an original story rather than the umpteenth version of this story.

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Unless you've never seen or read A Midsummer Night's Dream before, there are few surprises here. In classic Shakespeare fashion, tragic romances are littered throughout, as people are paired with the wrong partner and are pining for unattainable love. The plot isn't really the main draw here though.

Some of the puppet designs are nice and the more fantastical sets are cute, but the pacing is slow, the voice-over sounds somewhat indifferent and the animation is very basic, at least by modern standards. There are some stand-out moments here, but they are few and far between and most of the film was a bit too simplistic to keep me engaged throughout.

The Emperor's Nightingale

Cisaruv Slavík
1949 / 72m - Czechoslovakia
Fantasy - Animation
The Emperor's Nightingale poster

A classic, somewhat charming puppet animation. The animation quality isn't too great and the story of the Emperor's Nightingale was familiar territory for me, but the puppets are charming, and I do have a soft spot for stop-motion, so I still managed to enjoy it (apart from the live action sequences).

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A Chinese emperor is infatuated with a mechanical nightingale hat's given to him. He prefers the fake bird and its song to the real thing, which leads him to neglect his pet bird. Years later the emperor falls ill and finally learns the value of real friendship over that of a mechanical trinket.

The live action sequences are somewhat of an eyesore, luckily, most of the film is done in stop-motion. The animation is really rather basic, but the puppets are cute, and the short runtime make sure the film doesn't outstay its welcome. Not great, but fans of stop-motion cinema should get something out of it.