Archive for publications, 2020

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[Commlist] New book: The Art of Czech Animation

Fri Jul 24 19:49:43 GMT 2020

New book
The Art of Czech Animation
A History of Political Dissent and Allegory
Adam Whybray
Published: 	25-06-2020
Format: 	PDF eBook (Watermarked)
Edition: 	1st
Extent: 	288
ISBN: 	9781350104655
Imprint: 	Bloomsbury Academic
Illustrations: 	16 bw illus

The Art of Czech Animation is the first comprehensive English language account of Czech animation from the 1920s to the present, covering both 2D animation forms and CGI, with a focus upon the stop-motion films of Jirí Trnka, Hermína Týrlová, Jan Švankmajer and Jirí Barta.

Stop-motion is a highly embodied form of animation and The Art of Czech Animation develops a new materialist approach to studying these films. Instead of imposing top-down Film Theory onto its case studies, the book's analysis is built up from close readings of the films themselves, with particular attention given to their non-human objects.

In a time of environmental crisis, the unique way Czech animated films use allegory to de-centre the human world and give a voice to non-human aspects of the natural world points us towards a means by which culture can increase ecological awareness in viewers.

Such a refutation of a human-centred view of the world was contrary to communist orthodoxy and it remains so under late-stage consumer-capitalism. As such, these films do not only offer beautiful examples of allegory, but stand as models of political dissent. The Art of Czech Animation is a unique endeavour of film philosophy to provide a materialist appraisal of a heretofore neglected strand of Central-Eastern European cinema.
Table of contents

1. 'It's the simple things': Animated allegories against Nazi and Soviet oppression
2. Jan Švankmajer and the network of things
3. Jirí Barta and the rhythmic difficulties of living in, or with, time and space 4. Animators reconstructing Prague and Czech identity after the Velvet Revolution


“The Art of Czech Animation takes an innovative approach in re-examining the pioneering animators Trinka, Barta and Švankmajer. From a psychoanalytic perspective, Whybray explores these animators' works in light of politics and activism, resulting in a fascinating read.” – Dr Caroline Ruddell, Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead in Film Production/Film and TV, Brunel University London, UK,

“This book provides a compelling investigation into Czech animation history. What makes Whybray's text particularly valuable is the insightful manner in which he unifies significant political and historical events with creative and thematic developments in animation.” – Dr Dan Torre, RMIT University, Australia,

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