In spite of all of the recent interest in stop-motion animation, notably Wallace & Grommit, Tim Butron’s animations, the original King Kong and, of course, the grand-master Ray Harryhausen, most people, myself included, have been unaware of an entire genre of stop-motion from Eastern Europe called Puppetfilm. Puppetfilm doesn’t refer to puppets in the Jim Hensen/Howdy Doody sense, but to the miniature figures used in the painstaking stop-motion animation process.
Mike Brent, an amateur independent animator from Illinois, has created a site devoted to the appreciation of this remarkable branch of animation. His site contains a good introduction to the genre and its masters and features a fascinating gallery of clips. (Shown above, clockwise from top left: Jiri Trnka, Noro Drziak, Jiri Barta, Jan Bubenicek.) The eastern European sensibility is strongly evident. The animated images are dark, surreal, intricate and vividly imagined.
The site also contains links, resources and information about the artform and related topics, as well as some of Brent’s own work, which is, of course, very influenced by his love for these films.