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A Jester's Tale U rating

Karel Zeman's astonishing fantasy mixes live-action and animation to tell the adventures of a ploughman and a mercenery during the Thirty Years War.

Period drama 1964 85 mins

Director: Karel Zeman


Visionary Czech filmmaker Karel Zeman is recognised as one of the great masters of 20th Century fantasy cinema for his innovative combination of live-action and animation, along with the use of ingenious special effects. His work has also been a profound influence on generations of filmmakers from Jan Švankmajer to Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam to the Quay Brothers and Wes Anderson. One of Zeman's most celebrated achievements A Jester's Tale is a bold anti-war black comedy following the adventures of a ploughboy and a mercenary, press-ganged into service on the battlefields of the devastating Thirty Years' War of 1618 - 1648.

Co-scripted by Pavel Jurácek (Ikarie XB 1, Daisies, Josef Kilián), this startlingly inventive film emerges as a sharp satire on war, human nature and of the way we perceive history itself.