Often described as the ‘Czech Méliès’, visionary filmmaker Karel Zeman has been a profound influence on whole generations of film artists from Jan Švankmajer to Tim Burton, the Quay Brothers to Terry Gilliam, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Wes Anderson. His ground-breaking innovations in the use of live-action and animation mark him as one of the great masters of 20th Century fantasy cinema, ranking alongside his more celebrated Western counterparts Willis O’Brien, George Pal and Ray Harryhausen. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Baron Prášil) is perhaps Zeman’s most beloved achievement.
Still regarded as the finest film adaptation of Gottfried August Bürger’s outlandish tales of Baron Munchausen (made famous in his 1786 book), Zeman’s wildly inventive and outrageously fun take on the incredible adventures of the bragging Baron come to life in a film celebrating the courage and imagination of dreamers and poets.
With its mind-bending melding of live-action, animation and extraordinary matte work, Zeman has crafted a timeless work that continues to astonish.
“Karel Zeman and Ray Harryhausen were the two big inspirations for me… what Zeman did was amazing”
- Tim Burton
“He did what I'm still trying to do, which is to try and combine live action with animation. His Doré-esque backgrounds were wonderful. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen captured the real spirit of the character”
- Terry Gilliam
“Zeman's films are unique glimpses into forgotten worlds of myth, invention and exploration. One almost needs a telescope to view them”
- Peter Strickland
“Why do I make movies? I'm looking for terra incognita, a land on which no filmmaker has yet set foot, a planet where no director has planted his flag of conquest, a world that exists only in fairy tales”
- Karel Zeman
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