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Sat, 12.05. / 3 PM, Metropol 3

Animation History

Retrospectiv Ladislas Starewitch

Starevitch's first feature film telling the story of Reynard the Fox had already been produced between 1929 and 1931, however, its premiere did not take place before 1937 in Berlin and was released in France in 1941. Until today, it remains one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of puppet animation.


  • Rozhdestvo obitateley lesa (The Insects' Christmas), Russia 1913, 6.25 min.
  • Le Roman de renard (The Tale of the Fox), France 1929 – 1931, 65 min., Ladislas et Irène Starewitch

Sat, 12.5. / 5 PM, Metropol 3



Lecture with film examples by Florian Schmidlechner

Propagandistic animated films were first made during the First World War. They were designed either to lampoon and ridicule the enemy or to promote war finance through war bonds. However the true heyday of animated film propaganda did not arrive until the advent of the Second World War – animated films which addressed and analysed the political situation were made on all continents, in more than a dozen languages and in nearly all of the warring countries. They aimed to mobilise, propagate, educate or even just entertain a war-weary audience. In Italy, for example the Fascists fought against Il Dottor Churkill in an animated film and in the Netherlands Reynard the Fox against Jewish rhinos. In Russia, Hitler’s lies made him expand until he burst, in the USA Bugs Bunny sang Any Bonds Today?, whilst in Australia, The Squander Bug was portrayed as a money-wasting evil. Even in neutral Switzerland the propaganda club was swung to the cry of Kampf dem Hunger! (Fight starvation!). However war was both a blessing and a curse for animated film. Whilst many important artists emigrated from those countries occupied by the Nazis, to enrich the film world in their new homelands; animated film in the territories belonging to the Axis Powers experienced an artistic boom when for a short time American films were no longer shown. Examples from ten countries will illustrate how the way in which different filmmakers tackled the same issues was so differentiated and yet so similar. Or would you have thought that Mickey Mouse would play the leading role in both a French and a Japanese animated propaganda film?


Florian Schmidlechner is presently finishing his dissertation "Wartoons: Edutainment for Death. International animated film propaganda in the Second World War" at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna.

Sat, 12.5. / 7 PM, Metropol 3



Lecture with film examples by Rolf Giesen

In contrast to the American animation film industry which with regard to effective propaganda during the Second World War was not at all squeamish, German film animation under National Socialism seems almost strait-laced: whilst in the USA Donald Duck threw a tomato into the grotesquely caricatured face of the Führer and Gremlins from the Kremlin sabotaged Hitler’s personal bomber mission, the German big screens were teeming with canaries, a live snowman that wanted to see the summer and dwarves. Hitler and Goebbels were professed Disney fans. Snow White was Hitler’s favourite film. However, as they could not win Disney over for Germany (efforts to buy the finished German dubbed version of Snow White failed in 1939), they did everything in their power to reinvent him; only brighter, more charming and no less innocent. Was it not German fairytales that had helped Disney to his success? Hannah Arendt’s Banalität des Bösen may serve as a typical explanation for these conservative animated film dreams; however what is really interesting are not the few films that were actually produced in the Third Reich, but the foolhardy, megalomaniac projects that were never realised. These included for example the attempt to create a European animated film ring including a professorship for humour, in the hands of all things a German, to billet all cartoon film creators to the Crimea or to produce feature-length animated films in a company (Deutsche Zeichenfilm GmbH) under the management of a Goebbels aide who prior to 1933 was employed in factory meat production and which by the end of the war had only managed to finish one short film.


Together with J. P. Storm, Rolf Giesen has written the book "Animation under the Swastika: A History of Trickfilm in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945", to be published by McFarland & Company.

Sun, 13.05. / 5 PM, Metropol 3

Copyright collection Martin-Starewitch

Animation History

Retrospectiv Ladislas Starewitch

  • Strekoza i muravey (The Ant and the Grashopper), Russia 1913, 5 min.
  • Les Fables de Starewitch d´après La Fontaine, France 2010 (restaurated version), 70 min.


The film comprises five short films inspired by La Fontaine’s fables and re-interpreted by Ladislas Starevitch. Starevitch’s granddaughter L.B. Martin-Starewitch narrates the story. Music by Jacques Cambra.

Restauration : Léona Béatrice Martin-Starewitch.

Source : Doraine Films.


Le Lion et le moucheron (1932)

Le Rat dse villes et le rat des champs (1926)

Les Grenouilles qui demandent un roi (1922)

La Cigale et la fourmi (1927)

Le Lion devenu vieux (1932)