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30

WEDNESDAY

I, for one, think it would be good if Little Red Riding Hood got eaten at the end of the story for a change. Dying builds character. Likewise, would it really hurt kids if Cinderella occasionally ended up a spinster? Fair prince arrives, is repulsed by Cindy’s foot odor, and takes off; she shatters the crystal slipper in pursuit, requiring 15 stitches. Surely no major childhood trauma would result from this alternate telling. If anything, it would provide children with a lesson on the importance of podiatric care. The five stories designed for “smart children and smart adults” contained in Czech actor-comedian Jan Werich’s Fimfárum illustrate just the sort of truth-telling I’m advocating—complete with drunkards, devils, and slutty wives. Co-directors Aurel Klimt and Vlasta Pospísilová bring Werich’s tales to sumptuous puppet life in their 2002 feature, which won Best Animated Film at the 2003 Czech Critics’ Awards and Best Art Direction at the same year’s Czech Lions. Included among the five vignettes is “When the Oak Leaves Fall,” about an alcoholic who makes a deal with the devil, sadly involving the bun he doesn’t know is in his wife’s oven. After saving the child, he hits the bottle with renewed vigor—and soon lands himself another audience with the Dark One. Bring the kids when the film screens at 7 p.m. at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW. Free. (202) 274-9100. (Chris Hagan)