We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
For obvious reasons, some of the earliest examples of filmmaking dealt in fantasy: By their very illusionary nature, motion pictures provided a gateway to the otherworldly. Beginning with pioneers such as Ladislas Starevitch and Winsor McCay, those with the desire to manipulate reality even further began to focus exclusively on the use of animation. Post-World War II contemporaries Jirùí Trnka and Karel Zeman grafted Czechoslovakia’s rich heritage in puppetry onto object animation to make visually rich films that pay ultimate attention to detail and craftsmanship. Zeman eventually moved away from animation and wandered into the realm of live action; Baron Munchausen (1961) was among the adventure epics that followed. It is a visually static, albeit conceptually ambitious, film that blends stylized two-dimensional animated backgrounds with live action, all in the spirit of those fantasy film pioneers of the early 20th century. Come see why Terry Gilliam thought he could do better when the film shows at 4 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Chad Molter)