The short animated film by director Lucie Sunková made it to the Generation Kplus Competition section of the 72nd Berlinale. This category dedicated to child audiences offers dozens of short films every year, including animated ones. The last representative of Czech animation in 2020 was the student film Lístek (Leaf), which was directed by Aliona Baranova.
Film Suzie in the Garden is based on the eponymous book by Jana Šrámková. Suzie is a little girl who goes with her mum and dad to the allotments outside the city. From above they look like a noughts and crosses game, and you can experience various adventures there, or just observe nature changing in the course of the year.
„When I got hold of this book it immediately occurred to me that this was just the story I had been looking for. A story blending lyrical parts and epic, which is both entertaining and mysterious,“ explains the director Lucie Sunková. The film speaks to children in an understandable language and depicts the world in a way natural to them. At the same time in adults, it is capable of evoking nostalgic memories of moments and situations they experienced in childhood.
The author of the film, who is also its screenwriter and animator, continues her favourite technique of oil painting on glass. The movement created by brush strokes and their gradual erasing and repainting has its own unique character. It is a hand-crafted animation and is created directly under the camera on a multiplan table consisting of three glass plates placed above each other. The preparatory phase alone – painting a total of 90 backgrounds – took the animator 5 months. Filming in the studio, where the 13-minute film was put together from a sequence of over 17 thousand hand-painted frames, took 9 months.
Lucie Sunková used this technique for animating all her five previous short films. The viewers could see this demanding discipline first in her debut Strom (The Tree, 2016), or in a later feature length co-production Přes hranici (The Crossing, 2021), where Czech animators led by Lucie Sunková animated almost half the film.
The Berlinale, one of the three largest film festivals in the world, takes place between 10th and 20th February 2022, and will climax with the announcement of the new winners of the Gold and Silver bears.