About the film
Based on: "Richard III" William Shakespeare
Animator: Krzysztof Kiwerski
Music: Marek Wilczyński
Production Manager: Marek Oczkowski
Production: Animated Film Studio (Cracow)
Rights: National Film Archive
A silhouette of a horse runs across the screen in the rhythm of expressional percussion music. Its runs in both directions, in different takes and sets. Further animals appear. A specific graphic ‘horse’ ballet begins. The colour scheme of the horses on the first plan changes, as does the background. The camera comes closer and backs away, there are multiplications, metamorphoses of forms and shapes. From behind the scene a loud male voice shouts: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”.
Krzysztof Kiwerski’s other film fascination – apart from machines – are Shakespeare’s dramas. He has so far realized two animated adaptations. ‘Richard III’ (1977) refers to one episode of the tragedy, the one most recognized by society, the scream: “A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” which is almost a symbol of the main character. The film is a specific pastiche of Shakespeare’s drama accompanied by painting, it is an unconstrained form of ballet based on the motive of a horse. Kiwerski used the masks technique which enables copying fragments of one image into another, freely juggling the texture of mutually penetrating surfaces, which gives ‘Richard III’ a ‘window’ effect – one shining through the other’s frame.
Wojciech Mischke, Fantazja, sztuka i nauka, „Kino”, 1985, nr 6
The title board of ‘Richard III’ by Krzysztof Kiwerski informs in a stylish lettering that the film was made “according to W. Shakespeare”. However this four-minute animated miniature is not an adaptation of the masterpiece (which would have been impossible in such a short time, because after ‘Hamlet’ this is Shakespeare’s longest drama which is hardly ever shown in full even in theatres), but a visual impression about the famous call coming from this drama: „A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”. Kiwerski’s film is in fact not a cause and effect scheme story, but a static graphic which has been put into motion and illustrated by an adequate soundtrack. Although it was inspired by a literary work, ‘Richard III’s’ main asset is the visual side, because the film is not about a literary anecdote, but purely visual effects. Krzysztof Kiwerski is a graduate of the painting and graphics faculty of the Academy of Arts in Kraków (1973), where he studied in the Animated Film Workshop. After graduating he stayed at the university; for many years he has been the director of the Graphics, Computer Animation and Multimedia Workshop. Although he is a very fruitful director (he makes films for both adults and children), he has never left painting or graphic design. He is also successful at computer graphics. Several of his films are clearly inspired by the techniques of static arts, especially graphic design, which the artist tries to attractively revive (for example ‘The Run’, 1979; ‘Generation’, 1989). It is worth mentioning that 5 years after ‘Richard III’ the artist made another film inspired by the master from Stratford – ‘Tragedy of the Danish prince Hamlet by William Shakespeare’ (1980), specifically a fragment of the masterpiece cited in the title, in which the main character says his famous monologue: “To be, or not to be”. Jerzy Armata