Short Film: “Küzd?k” Is a Witty Animated Twist on a Classical Idea

Why Watch? This quite short but still entirely provocative short won the Short Film Palme d’Or at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. It’s the work of animator Marcell Jankovics, whose prior short Sisyphus was nominated for an Oscar in 1974 (and later used in a Super Bowl commercial for GMC). Jankovics has been called the “Walt Disney of Hungary,” which has everything to do with his place in cultural consciousness and much less to do with his actual work.

Küzd?k is a very brief film with awfully grand things to say. It’s a vignette of a sculptor who is quite literally destroyed by his greatest work, which comes to life while he carves. Creator and creation are both armed with chisels and chip away at each other. As the artwork becomes young, strong and beautiful, the artist ages into a withered nothingness. The whole thing is perfectly textured, capturing all of the roughness of untamed rock and bringing out a striking violence in the act of stone carving. Yet the cartoon is contemplative rather than brutal, re-framing the relationship between art object and artist with bold concision.

What Will It Cost? Just over 2 minutes.

Keep Watching Short Films

Daniel Walber is a freelance critic living in Brooklyn. He holds a MA in cinema studies from New York University, loves any movie under 80 minutes, and is gay for Bette Davis.

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