The whimsical Baron Münchausen mistakes a modern-day astronaut for a lost moon man and leads him on a series of miraculous adventures, riding on seahorses, battling the sultan’s armies, and romancing the beautiful Princess Bianca. Zeman’s lovely, humorous version of Gottfried Bürger’s classic tale is like a nineteenth-century magic lantern show brought to life. “Zeman captures perfectly the sense of wonderment in [Gustave Doré’s illustrations for an edition of Bürger’s novel] by using live action against a series of fairy-tale backgrounds…the film’s visual pyrotechnics are both fascinating and enchanting.” (Monthly Film Bulletin) Grand Prize, International Days of Youth, Cannes ’64. —BAM/PFA
Karel Zeman (November 3, 1910 – April 5, 1989) was a Czech film director, artist, production designer and animator. Because of his creative use of special effects and animation in his films, he has often been called the "Czech Méliès.
Zeman was born on November 3, 1910, in Ostroměř (near Nová Paka) in what was then Austria-Hungary. In the 1920s, he studied at a French advertising school, and worked at an advertising studio in Marseilles until 1936.It was in France that he first worked with animation, filming an ad for soup. He then returned to his home country (by now Czechoslovakia), after visiting Egypt, Yugoslavia, and Greece.
Back in Czechoslovakia, Zeman advertised for Czech firms like Baťa and Tatra. At Baťa’s window-dressing school, where he was teaching, Zeman met the animator Elmar Klos and showed him a sample of his work. Klos offered Zeman a job at Zlín’s animation studio. After some consideration (his wife and children were already established in Brno), Zeman… read more