This entry was posted on April 16th, 2012

By Mónica Delgado

Alois Nebel is an adaptation of Jaroslav Rudiš andJaromír 99’s graphic novel, realized in rotoscoping: A technique which traces animated movements shot by shot following a previous real filming (as in Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life)

This Czech animation film from Tomáš Lu?ák (which is vaguely reminiscent of Waltz with Bashir in how it stretches the possibilities of the genre) is a powerful drama about Czech Republic in the Cold War, a country that survives the WWII traumas and in which anguish and pessimism stay portrayed through the character that gives the film its title.

Alois Nebel is a train station operator in Bílý Potok, a region located in the Polish frontier, where he has worked since the 40’s. His depression leads him to the hospital, where he is treated and put to sleep. There, the nightmares that lead him to the Holocaust period link up with a character from his past, which seeks revenge in this railway environment, a foul environment of communist Czechoslovakia mafias.

Tomáš Lu?ák displays a special sensitivity, portraying the original graphic novel’s spirit. He portraits his main character with sadness and dry guilt, which is deeply touching in itself. He doesn’t just intend to make a portrait of Nebel from obscurity (supported by the scrupulous black and white), but also seeks to interpret some of the difficulties in a country in reconstruction, among Cold War.

The sequence of Alois Nebel in a station in Prague, living as a clochard near prostitutes and slackers is anthological. This is a sample of the most interesting paths animation is taking today.

Director: Tomáš Lunák
Writers: Jaroslav Rudiš, Jaromír Svejdík
Producers: Pavel Strnad, Karl Baumgartner, Thanassis Karathanos, Henrich Držiak
Cinematographer: Baset Jan St?ítežský
Starring: Miroslav Krobot, Marie Ludvíková, Karel Roden, Leoš Noha, Alois Švehlík, Tereza Voríšková, Ond?ej Malý, Marek Daniel, Simona Babcáková, Ivan Trojan
Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia
84 mins