Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
There are many books, films and cartoons that I remember from my childhood. However, Mr Blut’s Academy is one that I still watch with pleasure and interest. Many of the songs, that appear in the movie, I know even by heart!
The book about Mr Inkblot was written in 1946 by Jan Brzechwa – one of Polish children’s favourite writers – and published in 1968 with two other parts. The story of Mr Inkblot (in Polish: Pan Kleks) tells about an eccentric leader and creator of Academy for boys. The book surely develops imagination of children as there is a lot of fantasy included in the plot. As there are many films based on books, the two are usually compared and assessed. In this case one cannot make comparison that easily. While the book leaves the space for imagination, the film is itself a fabulous imagination of its director. The movie was made in 1983 (its two other parts in 1985 and 1988) by Krzysztof Gradowski.
Mr Ambrosio Inkblot created an Academy where he teaches 24 boys – whose names always start with the letter ‘A’. The building of academy is situated at Chocolate street and is surrounded by huge forest with the wall featuring gates to other fairy-tales. Mr Inkblot teaches the boys with the help of a mysterious starling bird – Matthew – who used to be a boy. But Kleks’ Academy is not a typical school – Mr Inkblot (played by Piotr Fronczewski) interprets dreams, his students throw ink during lessons and talk to heroes of other fairy-tales. The academy is joined by twelve-year-old, red-haired, naughty boy - Adam Niezgodka. The film features couple of separate stories such as the story of starling Matthew and the visit that Adam paid to the heaven for dogs. The two other films on Mr Inkblot (‘Travels of Mr Kleks’ and ‘Mr Kleks in space’), although made by the same director, are not as good as the first part. It is, however, surely worth watching them.
The big advantage of the movie are the songs sung by Mr Kleks and his students, that are in fact Jan Brzechwa’s poems. The soundtrack was released separately and features such famous pieces as ‘Weird duck’, ‘On Bergamuta Islands’ or ‘Lazybones’. Since more than 25 years the songs are very popular among the children in whole Poland.
I cannot say what is so special about this film. I can still sit and watch it with the same passion as years ago. Some time ago I played with my cousins’ children while the movie was on. We had really a lot of fun but I realised I could not take my eyes of the screen! At some point, when the children started to sing the song about the weird duck, son of my cousin (he is 4 years old) ceased the play and started to sing together with his two-year-old sister. There is over 20 years difference between us but we still love the same movie. There must be magic in it!