Tale of Tales… and other tales


Doors 7pm £5 advance (click here) £6.50 on the door SOLD OUT

A fundraising event for the Horse Hospital

Do you remember that episode of The Simpsons in which the usual Itchy & Scratchy broadcast is replaced with a film about Worker & Parasite, “Eastern Europe’s favourite cat-and-mouse duo”? As that spot-on spoof illustrated, Soviet animation continues to suffer the reputation of being abstract and obtuse. At first Tale of Tales, the autobiographical work of master Russian animator Yuri Norstein, does nothing to dispel that image: concerned above all with how we experience memory, it is narratively incoherent and steeped in symbolism. Yet as this short film progresses and distant scenes from Norstein’s youth flow into each other, it conjures up a tremendous nostalgia that will make sense to anyone who’s ever longed to return to childhood. Tale of Tales has topped countless Best Of polls since its release in 1979; join us for an all-too-rare screening of this masterpiece of animation.

In yet another year in which safe, conventional films dominate the Oscars shortlist, Tale of Tales is a reminder that animation does not have to follow rules. So tonight we’ll kick off proceedings with four other animated shorts that have pushed the envelope in some respect. They show us that centuries-old Japanese comedy routines are still funny, that Channel 4 was once at the heart of the British cartoon industry, that strobe lights aren’t just for raves, and that slabs of meat make for remarkably expressive tools of animation. Innovative, funny and often unspeakably odd, these films open up a world of pictures beyond Pixar.

The programme is as follows. Each short will be briefly introduced by film journalist Alex Dudok de Wit.

Dimensions of Dialogue (Czechoslovakia, 1982). Directed by Jan Svankmajer. 14 minutes.

The Village (UK, 1993). Directed by Mark Baker. 14 minutes.

Pas de Deux (Canada, 1968). Directed by Norman McLaren. 13 minutes.

Mt. Head (Japan, 2002). Directed by Koji Yamamura. 10 minutes.

Tale of Tales (Russia, 1979). Directed by Yuri Norstein. 29 minutes.