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Special Screening: Little From the Fish Shop
The heroine of this film is just as innocent as the mermaid in Andersen’s fairy tale and, like her, Little wants to find true love. Except that she lives in the world of people, moreover, in a bustling city harbour. Everything’s sparkly and alluring here, even the impure things, and it’s difficult to tell them apart. Little finds her prince, too, and ultimately pays the price for falling under his devious spell. Up until this point the director adheres to the original story; otherwise he exploits his creative flexibility to develop the impulses that were once defined by Trnka’s illustrations, whose dramatic tone was aimed more at the adult reader.
Balej’s conception, however, offers a modern take on the grotesque; the artistic stylisation of the puppets aptly and concisely conveys the character of the individual figures, while the animation, serving to enhance the gags and various details and to heighten the tension, brings vibrancy and dynamism to the entire narrative. The film is intriguing for its suggestive evocation of the atmosphere of the town and its bizarre secluded spots, and for its expression of a whole range of moods, from brutal moments to the lyrical intermezzos associated with the emotional world of the fragile heroine.