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Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness (2006)

Oldrich Kaiser , Jirí Lábus , Jirí Barta  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness + Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers + The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer
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Product Details

  • Actors: Oldrich Kaiser, Jirí Lábus, Michal Pavlícek, Vilém Cok, Frantisek Husák
  • Directors: Jirí Barta
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Czech (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kimstim
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2013
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GTJS9E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,133 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This collection includes 8 films by the legendary Czech animator: A Ballad About Green Wood, The Club Of the Laid Off, The Design, Disc Jockey, The Last Theft, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, Riddles For a Candy, and The Vanished World Of Gloves.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INFORMATION NOW! (Review to follow) August 31, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Since Amazon doesn't seem to know what it's got this is straight from the horses mouth... Review after release

Includes the legendary animated film The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Revered as one of the world's most significant figures in animation, Czech filmmaker Jiri Barta has made a career fashioning stunningly gothic worlds of horror and fantasy that are infused with sublime humor and intense moral examinations. Mixing the aesthetic traditions of such artists as Gaudi, Kafka, Poe, Fritz Lang, The Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer, Barta's films are wondrous creations that go far beyond mere children's tales.

His early paper cut-out extravaganzas-Disc Jockey (1980) and The Design (1981)-give way to the object ballet of A Ballad about Green Wood (1983), in which logs celebrate the eternal renaissance of spring. Old mannequins spend their cracked and broken lives In the Club of the Laid Off (1989), and myriad styles of handwear spring to life as a brief history of international cinema in the award-winning The Vanished World of Gloves (1982). Barta's international reputation was cemented with The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1985), a very un-Disney adaptation of the classic German fairytale in which carved wooden puppets in a gothic cubist town are plagued by live rats. Considered one of the greatest works of puppet animation, it recalls the dark medieval epics of Ingmar Bergman. His only live action film, The Last Theft (1987), is a jewel thief/vampire flick shot in the style of 1970s European exploitation cinema.

Working mostly from the prestigious animation studio founded by the legendary Jiri Trnka, Barta's works have been criminally overlooked in the U.S.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best stop animation EVER March 29, 2008
What it is that makes Czech animators so brilliant? There was Jiri Trnka, back in the day, Jan Svankmajer redefining the medium, and now Jiri Barta. This collection simply must be on the shelves of anyone who truly enjoys stop animation.

The eight pieces presented range from six minutes to 55. All of them are clever and well done, even if 'The Last Theft' and 'Disc Jockey' aren't really stop animation. The two longest pieces deserve the most attention, however. I had seen 'The Club of the Laid Off' before. It presents a crumbling warehouse where unwanted mannikins are sent to be forgotten, but take lives of their own. The forced cheer painted onto their immobile faces amid decay, their own included, cast a creepy spell over the whole twenty-five minutes, as did their deliberate and inaccurate humanity - they were, after all, created to display human clothes. Even their anatomically-innacurate nudity reinforced their pathetic poverty. Their ineffectual tries at normalcy just displayed a poverty of soul, too, opening the question of which creations deserve to have souls.

The best by far was the "Pied Piper of Hamelin." At nearly an hour, this sustained effort in stop-animation is an achievement in sheer endurance if nothing else - at 25 or 30 hand-crafted frames per second, an hour is a long time. But it offers more than that. The Pied Piper plot looms darker than any other I've seen. Without being "adult" in any way, this is certainly not one for the kiddies. But, even if the plotting and characterization didn't meet the highest standards already, the crafting of puppets and sets would still make this one of the best on record.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Hello again from this imaginary aisle of the abstract retail market.

Well it's easy to see why recommended this to me, considering the above-average amount of short film collections I own and my own interests in animation. I remember seeing this Jiri Barta collection at work once and was really curious about it, and it was nice to have the incentive to get around to watching it. I have to admit a lack of previous knowledge around this otherwise cult-followed, Svankmajer compatriot Czech animator, but it's been a wonderful adventure learning about him.

While Barta gets a lot of comparison to Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay (as well as Jiri Trnka, whom I've not yet gotten the opportunity to research), his movies are a lot looser, playful, and modernistic, sometimes to a fault. The collection of films on this set actually range through quite a lot of different moods and styles while always maintaining a clear sense of wit. At worst, some of the pieces can seem like Barta lost track of what he was starting and decided to just change it all -- rather difficult to do in animation when it takes so much time -- and at best it's perversely unpredictable fun.

I can see why "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" is his most famous work, as it fully realizes the very nature of fairy tale telling into graphic form, so that even in its most unique moments it seems direly, perversely familiar. It was very enjoyable and mesmerizing. My other favorite is the live-action "The Last Theft", mostly because it hits its gothic notes right on queue for some fun-loving morbid hilarity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Animation by Jiri Barta
Why this animator is so little known will always be a mystery to me, but then again, I'm a huge fan of Czech animation. Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. Mosca
2.0 out of 5 stars some kids need coloring books
while the pied piper of Hamelin is worth the price of a rental the balance quite contrarily is pure pop schlock making him a one schlock wonder why embarrassing brown stain on the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by ERIC MUNSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Barta is the undisputed stop-motion king!
What a terrific collection have we here, almost every outstanding short animated film by the Czech master on one DVD. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Lee Valesquez
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven, but rare and special at times.
7 very different animated shorts. Some brilliant in their storytelling, others a
little dull. Read more
Published on November 2, 2011 by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide Range of Barta's Works
The Labyrinth of Darkness is a brilliant collection of Barta's eclectic styles. The Club of the Undead, The Last Theft, and Krysar: The Pied Piper of Hamelin are notable works... Read more
Published on March 12, 2011 by Amélie
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark animation
I bought this one because it was recommended to me by the amazon recommendation engine based on me enjoying Svankmajer and the Quay brothers. Read more
Published on November 24, 2009 by Un francais en angleterre
4.0 out of 5 stars a must -see
Collection of quite many animation shorts, all made in a different style, like a 'box of chocolate', you never know what you get next and that's what makes it brilliant. Read more
Published on July 31, 2009 by alxflp
5.0 out of 5 stars top notch czech animation
this is an absolute must for any fan of czech animation, stop motion enthusiast, or surrealist appreciator. Read more
Published on September 4, 2008 by Jonathan Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars cinema's heart is here
this is an amazing film done in stop-motion animation,and is like many of jan svankmajer's works in form and content. Read more
Published on October 4, 2007 by Trottin'-Butterz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Eastern European Stop-Motion Animation!!!
I purchased this specifically for the Pied Piper and was amazed that every film was solid.
Published on March 11, 2007 by Wesley
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