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The Great Pioneer: Ladislas Starewitch


Friday, February 22nd / 4 pm. La Llotja, Sala Ricard Viñes

DURATION: 1 h 30 min
SHORTS. All Ages


Starewitch was a pioneer and undisputed master of puppet animation, a self-taught filmmaker, a trained anthropologist and an amateur entomologist. He was born in Moscow in 1882 to Polish parents and made more than 100 films in Lithuania, in Russia and, from 1920 onwards, in France.

His early passion for drawing and photography and fascination with nature, particularly insects, which he had collected from a young age, came together to create a unique body of work. His first animal characters were actual insects but he went on to make puppets that were practically indistinguishable from these real-life models. To these he added a wide variety of fauna which lost none of their wonderful and somewhat disturbing realism.

Many of Starewitch’s tales are inspired by traditional fables, however his most celebrated ones are based on his own stories. His talent for narrative rhythm, technical inventiveness and for imbuing his roguish characters with life, make each film a masterpiece which combines Gogolesque absurd humour with poetry or political satire.

The success of the series of adventures starring the dog  Fetiche brought Hollywood knocking, but Starewitch rejected its advances and continued working in his little studio  on the outskirts of Paris with his small production team but with absolute freedom. His wife Ana Zimmerman was his assistant; his daughter Irène worked behind the camera as well as being co-writer and animator; and his other daughter Nina acted in many of his films.

In spite of the recognition Starewitch received in Moscow in the years leading up to the Bolshevik revolution, and in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, he died in obscurity in 1965. In the 1990s, his films were rediscovered and restored. Starewitch has been praised by directors such as Nick Park, John Lasseter, Tim Burton and Wes Anderson. Jan Švankmajer considers him "the Méliès of animation" and the Quay Brothers have described him as a master.

Carolina López



  • Comment naît et s'anime une ciné-marionnette - Ladislas Starewitch, França, 1932
  • La revanche du ciné-opérateur - Ladislas Starewitch, França, 1912
  • Le mariage de Babylas - Ladislas Starewitch, França, 1921
  • Fétiche Mascotte / Fétiche 33-12 - Ladislas Starewitch, França, 1933
  • Fleur de Fougère - Ladislas Starewitch, França, 1949

La Paeria - Ajuntament de Lleida

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