The Emperor’s Nightingale
35mm Archival Print
Recommended for ages 6 & up
A young, shut-away Chinese emperor becomes enraptured by a nightingale’s song—and then by its mechanical reproduction—in Trnka’s magical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. A baroque music box brought to life, The Emperor’s Nightingale is stop-motion at its most lavish, featuring some of Trnka’s greatest designs: refined porcelain figurines bedecked in ornate costumes, a court setting overflowing with gorgeous fabrics, and intricate lattice work. Just as memorable as its shining beauty is the film’s plea to enjoy the natural world and to break away from prisons both mechanical and emotional. The legendary Czech Surrealist writer Vítězslav Nezval collaborated on the screenplay.
Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1958
Commissioned by UNESCO, this elegantly bare-bones short embraces human universality beyond borders and walls.