THE HAND directed by Jirí Trnka (Czechoslovakia, 1965)

At first glance Ruka (“The Hand”) may look like a Disney style  animation but it is actually a thinly veiled attack on Stalinist oppression.

A sculptor tries to resist the intervention of a giant disembodied hand. Each time he thinks he has won, the hand reappears. Eventually the hand turns the sculptor into a puppet making him create an image of itself – a comment of the communist state’s blighting of  artistic creation.

It seems that the authorities were slow catching onto the symbolism – the film wasn’t banned at first although subsequently it mysteriously disappeared from retrospectives of Trnka’s work after his death in 1969. More overtly, copies were confiscated and banned from public display in Czechoslovakia for two decades.

You can see it on Vimeo:

Related link:

The Hand That Rocked The Cradle  (Sight & Sound  article)

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