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Among the many anniversaries to celebrate this year is the centenary of Jiří Trnka, the great master of puppet animation whose contributions to that special art were as essential as Walt Disney’s were for cel animation. For his Old Czech Legends, Trnka chose six classic folktales, while being careful to vary their tone and tempo, and transformed the jaded heroes of national legends into living characters—incarnated, of course, by his specially made puppets. Yet beyond his mastery of puppetry was Trnka’s extraordinary grasp of cinema: his work is equally impressive for his innovative editing, lighting, and sound. Winner of just about every conceivable international film award, Trnka raised the bar for all puppet animators to come, and his influence can be powerfully felt in work by Jan Šjvankmayer and the Quay Brothers. Print courtesy of the Czech National Film Archive.