Česká centra, Czech Centres

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Dec 2, 2004 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Video Thursdays for Children

Starting in November, the Czech Center will expand its regular video screenings to include films for young viewers. The screenings will introduce children (and parents) to a variety of classic Czech animated and live-action films with such characters as Krtek. Come meet Krtek and his friends on December 2nd at 3 pm.

An Afternoon with Krtek

December 2nd, Czech Center, 3 pm

A little “Ahoj!,” “Hele!,” and an astonished “Ooh!” is all that the little cute mole can say but children

and parents in more than 80 countries know and understand him. It is more than 40 years ago that

the little mole first appeared on the screen. Since then, he has continued to have great adventures

thanks to his “father,” Zdenûk Miler.

Zdenûk Miler (b. 1921) began his work as an animator while Czechoslovakia was still under Nazi

occupation. After the war he worked as an nimator on the first films of Jifií Trnka and in 1948 he

made his first film, The Millionaire Who Stole the Sun, still highly regarded today.

In 1954, while working at Barrandov Studios, he was assigned to make a film for children showing

how linen is made. He felt that a fairly dull subject needed to be livened up by a compelling

character. That turned out to be Krtek. Krtek makes a pair of linen overalls, with help from a frog

who soaks the flax, spiders who spin the yarn, ants who weave the cloth, and a crawfish who cuts

the fabric. This first film about Krtek won a first prize in the Venice Film Festival in 1957.

Krtek changed slightly over time, but the basics were there: the forest, other animals, and a problem Krtek solves entertainingly. Over nearly five decades, Krtek starred in 62 short animated films for children. He is shown around the world, and is especially popular in Germany and Japan.

But Krtek never caught on in the United States. According to Zdenûk Miler and his colleagues in the

renowned world of Czech animation, Krtek may be just too slow for the frantic land of the Cartoon

Network. Krtek films are, in fact, slow, but also lyrical and so hypnotically distinct that they can feel

less like watching movies than climbing into another human’s head. That would be Zdenûk Miler’s.

Biographical information from “50 Years of Burrowing Gently Into Czech Culture.”
New York Times, March 6, 2004


“It took me a long time to realize it, but when I draw Krtek I am drawing myself. What I mean is that Krtek is the ideal that should be me. But I can’t meet that ideal.”

Zdenek Miler


Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Dec 2, 2004 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM


Czech Center

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