The Good Soldier Švejk
(Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka I.–III.)
Jaroslav Hašek’s satirical antiwar novel The Good Soldier Švejk is one of Czech literature’s greatest classics, with its easygoing, orders-avoiding main character echoing the spirit of a small nation hemmed in by superpowers. A low-level soldier more interested in telling stories and drinking beer than in following his superiors, Švejk steadfastly sidesteps participating in the war machine through incompetence alone. Fittingly, Trnka’s adaptation trades the exotic fantasia of his other films for a more earthy, realist look dominated by grays, tans, and wood textures. With a permanent poop-eating grin, his Švejk figurine “speaks” truth to power by simply repeating its idiocies.
The Two Frosts
Jiří Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1954
Two prankish winter spirits put the big chill on a pair of luckless travelers in this comic folktale.