Director: Jan Švankmajer
Release Date: 1971
Atypically for Jan Švankmajer, this film uses pencil animation only (except for a short stop motion segment of a pencil drawing a hand). The animation of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings is both stunning and very convincing. Unfortunately, the nonsensical interruptions with stock film wear the film down, rendering a boring film with an unclear message.
Nevertheless, the Czech communist authorities responded negatively to Švankmajer’s unauthorized post-production of this film, with the incorporation of images related to daily life – presuming a hidden political message. So after ‘Leonardo’s Diary’ Švankmajer was forced to lay down his work for seven years. Only in 1979 he would make the start of a second career, in which he would produce his best films. However, Švankmajer would never return to drawn animation, and ‘Leonardo’s Diary’ remains the only testimony of his skills in this form of art.
Watch ‘Leonardo’s Diary’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Leonardo’s Diary’ is available on the DVD ‘Jan Svankmajer – The Complete Short Films’