Monday, June 9, 2008

The Cathedral (Short Animated Movie)

"The Cathedral" (Amazon: USA)
by Tomek Baginski (IMDB)
based on a short story by Jacek Dukaj
running time: 6 min 20 sec

Yeah, I know, "The Cathedral" (orig. Katedra) is far from being a new thing. It impressed me back in 2003 when it was nominated for an Academy Award and I'm sure that it was the same with many of you. I rediscovered it now - and was impressed again.

For those who managed to miss it: "The Cathedral" is a short animated movie, made back in 2002; the author is Tomek Baginski (also the author of "Fallen Art"). It was nominated (as mentioned above) for Oscar in 'Best Short Film, Animated' category and won the title of 'Best Animated Short' - Siggraph 2002. It's available on DVD (region 1 format only), but you can also watch it on YouTube. I warn you, though - you should really see it in high-res. :)

But there was one thing I managed to miss - the film is based on a short SF story by Jacek Dukaj. The story, however, is originally written in Polish and was never fully translated (at least not officially; if there is a translation on the Internet I don't know about, feel free to notify me). You can find the translated parts of it here - they are pretty awesome. There are also some other partly-translated short stories on Dukaj's site, along with selected excerpts from one of his novels, "Black Oceans". His only short story that's been fully translated is "The Golden Galley" - you can find it in The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy.


Jaxx_zk said...

I remember The Cathedral from way back...very vivid and emotional movie, it raises hair on my back.

Larry said...

A little over five years ago, a friend of mine at wotmania interviewed Dukaj and ever since, I've been hoping that someone would take a chance and publish more of his work in English.

Trin said...

@larry: wow, thanks for the link. I'm kinda sad because I don't study Polish :) I was even thinking about that, but choose comparative literature instead. :/
I find it strange, though - why is there no translations? They would surely sell, so ...

@jaxx: I agree, it's really a great movie.

Larry said...

I think the more "unique" a literary work is, the harder it is to convince the marketing people that such a work can sell. Add to that the fact that it'd have to be translated and I would guess that the expected audience would shrink even further. Sad, but true.

Trin said...

... ok, what? That's a bit hard for me to comprehend, since I come from a country where almost every work on the market is translated and the works of our home authors are the ones that don't sell. :) People here mostly prefer to read translated works, even if they speak good English and could easily read the original (which is usually much, much better). So it sounds a bit weird to me that the work gets less readers when it's translated ...
But anyway, what about The Last Wish, wasn't that one a hit? I mean, its success could encourage the publishers to take a chance on Dukaj.

Dark Wolf said...

Lovely short film. Thank you for pointing me to it. I must admit that I didn't know about it.

Dark Wolf said...

Also, the othet animated movie, directed by Tomek Baginski too, is interested. Have you seen it, it's called "Fallen Art"?

Trin said...

I've seen it, yes. There's also a link to it in the post ;) but it's not really pointed out, so I understand that you missed it :) It's a bit morbid, but funny at the same time ... I love the dance, though.

Larry said...

Sapkowski apparently did okayish to good with the English-language sales (it's only now reaching the US, as of last month) and with 2 million copies sold in continental Europe alone before the UK edition last year, I was just surprised that it wasn't translated into any of the South Slavic languages, since your region, as you say, seems to be much more likely to read works in translation. Here in the US, the opposite is true; very few books in any genre are ever translated into English unless it is a guaranteed big seller. I guess the Anglo-American market is a bit more provincial in some ways, not to mention that due to the huge numbers of English-language originals released each year, publishers don't have to worry about the non-English market much at all.

That being said, Dukaj is one that I'd read if his works were ever published in English translation.

Trin said...

Oh, the answer to why it was not translated around here is easy, it's because it's fantasy genre. Here, we have a rather peculiar situation with only one or two big publishers dominating the market - and the market is small, since it's a pretty small country to start with. Fantasy fiction doesn't sell well enough so we only get random well-known works now and then - I think we're down to LOTR, A Game of Thrones and a bunch of YA books, since fantasy is still often regarded as a genre for kids around here. Also there are some (that is, five to ten) SF books around ... it's slowly getting better (we got a translation of The Road by McCarthy recently), but it's pretty much unreal to expect a translation of Sapkowski soon, we have to get some of the classics first x)
It's a different story with Croatia, where they have lots of translated speculative fiction - they might translate it.

And yes, I totally agree with you on Dukaj. A shame there are no translations, I'd be the first in line to buy one. :)


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