...I just picked up this newly released, gorgeous Blu-ray set from Criterion Collection, “THREE FANTASTIC JOURNEYS BY KAREL ZEMAN”. Zeman was a Czech filmmaker that I had actually been aware of as a kid by way of seeing his films on TV (even if I didn’t know his name at the time). They were mysterious and unforgettable...bizarre fantasies combining animated Victorian engravings and stop motion puppet photography with live action. It’s one of those things from your childhood that just stays with you and later ends up influencing your own sensibilities in some way.
The set features “Journey to the Beginning of Time”(1955), “Invention for Destruction”(1958) (aka,“The Fabulous World of Jules Verne”) and “The Fabulous Baron Munchausen”(1962). I primarily remember seeing the latter two as a kid...they would just show up on TV occasionally. There was this indescribable magic about them because they seemed so strange and otherworldly to me. I wanted to climb in there and enter those environments.
The collection has some shorts by Zeman and several cool documentaries that I can’t wait to get into. Everything has been remastered and restored so the images look amazing. I also want to say that the packaging design on this thing is really a knockout, with popup style panels that fold open, holding the discs in sleeves. The whole set folds back up into a lovely die cut slipcase. Wonderful stuff!
The Art of William Basso