Czech animator Karel Zeman
July 6, 2008 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Karel Zeman was a Czech animator probably best known for his movies Journey to the Beginning of Time and The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. He used stop-motion animation, cartoons, puppetry, colorization, and live action to create surreal and otherworldly films of amazing beauty. Sadly (for some), there's not a lot on the internet in English about the man.

Although, it really doesn't matter what language(s) you know when there are so many of his works online. These are in no particular order and some are not in English:

The Magic World of Karel Zeman (partial)
The Special Effects of Karel Zeman, part 2 (one of the vids that pops up on the "related videos" portion is NSFW)
Baron Prásil (Baron Munchausen) intro, clips 1, 2, 3
1001 Nights
Mr Prokouk Episode 1, 2, 3, 4
King Lavra part 1, 2, 3
Vynález Zkázy (A Deadly Invention/The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Čarodějův Učeň part 1, 2, 3, 4
Cesta do Praveku (Journey to the Beginning of Time) part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Inspirace (Inspiration)
Karel Zeman playlist on youtube (personal playlist which includes the above films)

If you watch one, go with Inspirace. It's a stop motion/live action piece utilizing blown glass figures and takes place in a drop of rain.

Previous thread on Eastern European animation
posted by sleepy pete (4 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Czech animation has a long tradition upheld by many, of which a personal favorite is Jiri Trnka (excuse the lack of diacritics). A list can be found on the hive
posted by ziadleb at 1:20 PM on July 6, 2008

Wow, pete! Nifty post. Thanks!
posted by Lynsey at 4:33 PM on July 6, 2008

Another great Czech animator is, of course, Jan Svankmajer.
posted by PM at 4:47 PM on July 6, 2008

I remember seeing "Journey to the Beginning of Time" on one of the Los Angeles kiddie shows in the early '60s. In fact I remember it more vividly than anything else I saw on TV at the time because it totally freaked me out. Going back into the far past without a time machine (complete with the weird creatures and lava flows) was a frequently recurring theme in my nightmares. Among all the silly/weird crap on kid tv at the time (The Funny Company, The Astronut, Spunky & Tadpole, Diver Dan), "Journey" stood out so much as mind-bendingly dramatically weird. I honestly remember yelling at the TV screen something like "Turn around! It's not safe way back there... er, then!"

So Karel Zeman is at least 5% responsible for how weird I am today.
posted by wendell at 6:44 PM on July 6, 2008

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