A bony old woman with a cropped blue face runs after a car leaving the castle. The girl runs away through the forest from the enchanted castle, looks back, covers her face from the attack of the night predator, her legs in ankle boots run over the log. The first scene is taken from the animated film Mrs. Misery, the second from Maryška and the Wolf Castle. Both scenes are emotional, even though puppets run through them – and both were breathed to life by Vlasta Pospíšilová, who died last Friday at the age of 87. The first woman who managed to penetrate more significantly into the male club of Czech puppet animation (she first worked on Jiří Trnka’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 1959).
Vlasta Pospíšilová’s animation style was distinctive and unmistakable. She was able to capture and express even the smallest details of emotions and experiences. As evidenced by, among other things, the scenes just mentioned – and indeed, the set of Mrs. Misery is remarkable in this respect. This also applies to the dozens of other characters she brought to life as an animator. For example, the link between his grandmother and his granddaughter, who must separate for a time in the film Cybernetic Grandmother, for example. “She liked to animate mainly heroines, she said she could really go after them,” says Eliška Děcká, a film scientist from FAMU’s animation department in Prague, according to whom Pospíšilová lived and worked in. the shadow of the masters of the pedestal. she started with or with whom she later collaborated (Jan Švankmajer / Žvahlav and Options for Dialogue / Aurel Klimt).
Pospíšilová joined the Puppet Film Studio in Prague, later the Jiří Trnka Studio, in 1956 as an assistant animator after graduating from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, where she studied puppetry and scenography. She gained her first experience as an animator in puppet, flat and experimental films. Over the years, she has become a sought-after animator, whose experience and skills have also been applied in fiction, such as Jindřich Polák’s popular series Mr. Tau, where the double actor Mr. Tau.
He only reached his aforementioned heroines in his own direction. She made her film debut with O Maryšce a vlčím hrádku (1979), which she co-directed with Edgar Dutka, who also wrote a screenplay based on a Moravian tale by Zuzana Renčová. Brave villager Maryška is a hero of unprecedented integrity and determination to keep her word even at the cost of the painful loss of two children. According to Děcká, the equally brave heroines were more of an anomaly in animated fairy tale production of the time, while the female characters mostly stood passively close. “It was essential for Vlasta Pospíšilová to impress Maryška so that it was clear that she was a really brave girl from the mountains. take care of his family and manage long days of filming in the studio”, adds Děcká.
In addition to animation, Pospíšilová works remarkably on symbolism (flowers sprinkled with a rose bush on the balcony) and visual abbreviations and large spaces (opening of mourning or ceremonial sheets, tops of blackbirds and ice axes of enraged subjects), which poetically and menacingly capture internal dramas and emotional shifts and dynamically move the storyline across a fifteen-minute zone. As well as detail cuts in horror scenes. The shining eyes of the wolf castle statue were really scary.
She acted creatively in the same way in her second film, mentioned by Mrs. Poverty – a truly oppressive and hopeless parable about poverty and the ability (in)to resist it. The slightly cacophonous music of Michael Kocáb underlines Mrs. Bída’s escapades; great detail this time in the sound plan. The best known and most grateful of his work before November 1989 is his animated film Lakomá Barka, based on a fairy tale by Jan Werich from the book Fimfárum. A humorous story about the notoriously greedy servant of the pastor, who one day, due to greed, becomes part of a chain of bizarre coincidences revealing the nature of other villagers, gave Pospíšilová another heroine, on which she could flee.
Lakomou Barka began a series of adaptations of Werich short stories – in 1991 she shot When the Leaves Fall from an Oak, A Dream Fulfilled Ten Years Later, then Frant Nebojsa (with Aurel Klimt), Three Sisters and One Ring and About a Hat with a feather for the feature films Fimfárum 2 and Fimfárum – third in all good 3D).
Vlasta Pospíšilová is signed as a director and often screenwriter in the Beetles series based on a book by Jan Karafiát, and she also directed a number of episodes of the puppet sitcom Pat and Mat about a pair of distinctive handymen. In the late 1990s, when Ladybirds were celebrating phenomenal success, Vlasta Pospíšilová said to Hospodářské noviny: tolerance.” Similar ideals – that is, bringing a non-violent lesson about human existence through creation – are, after all, typical of most of his work, as is his precise, playful and emotionally rich animation.