The Pied Piper | Chicago Reader

The Pied Piper

The legend of the Pied Piper had been around for centuries before the brothers Grimm wrote it down for posterity; Czech director Jiri Barta's ambitious 55-minute animation (1985) recasts it as a parable about capitalism run amok, amplifying the avarice of the townsfolk into depraved gluttony. Grunting unintelligible gibberish, residents of Hamelin gorge themselves at one decadent feast after another, while rats maul each other over the scraps that fall to the floor. While the rats are real, the human characters are played by wooden puppets whose creaky, gouty movements contrast eerily with the fluid litheness of the rapacious rodents. Preceded by three shorts in Czech with subtitles: Marie Kubatova's Till Early Morning, Lucie Simkova-Sunkova's The Raven, and Vaclav Kadrnka's Defector. Total time 73 min.

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