films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Invention for Destruction

Vynález Zkázy
1958 / 83m - Czechoslovakia
Invention for Destruction poster

Interesting mix of live action footage and cartoon-like sets and props. Though this film is often categorized as an animated feature, it's more of a trompe l'oeil that wants you to believe you're watching an animated film. Can't say it's entirely successful (the real actors are a dead giveaway), but it makes for some rather creative-looking scenes.

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The plot is an amalgam of Jules Verne influences. The core story (about an evil scientist building a weapon inside a volcano) is based on Verne's Facing the Flag, but Zeman doesn't mind borrowing royally from other Verne novels. If you're familiar with Verne's writings it's all a bit too random, but it's good enough for an adventure film.

Not everything works and some parts are really outdated, but overall the film has retained a certain charm because of Zeman's unique approach. It's really like nothing I'd ever seen before, which at this stage has become a pretty big plus. It's still way too clumsy for me to love it unconditionally, performances are basic, the execution's pretty childish and the effects can be pretty crummy, but at least it was memorable.

Krabat: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Carodejuv Ucen
1978 / 73m - Czechoslovakia
Fantasy - Animation
Krabat: The Sorcerer's Apprentice poster

Poorly animated retelling of Krabat's story. The animation feels cheap, the art style isn't very attractive either. The film never finds a good balance between the inherent darkness of the story and its target audience, making it a tough watch regardless of its short running time. A very disappointing animated classic.