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TRAILER: “The Cold Heart” By Hannes Rall

German animation director Hannes Rall, who has previously adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Erlking to animation, is wrapping up another hand-drawn animated adaptation of classic literature. This time, he’s tackling the work of German writer Wilhelm Hauff and his fairy tale The Cold Heart.

The short is set in Germany’s Black Forest during the 19th century: “Peter Munk is a poor but goodhearted young man, desperately wishing to be rich. Tempted by the evil ghost of the woods, he trades his warm heart for a heart of stone. He becomes rich but turns into a merciless and cruel man. Is there still hope for him?”

The 29-minute short channels classic German art influences including the distorted human figures of Expressionist woodcuts and the silhouette animation design of Lotte Reiniger. The film also boasts the color design of animation veteran Hans Bacher, who was the production designer of Disney’s Mulan, among an extensive list of Disney animation credits. Both Rall and Bacher teach at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where they connected for this project.

The short received German production funding from MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg. It will premiere later this year. Rall shared with Cartoon Brew some of Hans Bacher’s color scripts for the film:

  • Larry

    looks pretty cool!

  • The style and dramatic poses remind me of Lynd Ward’s woodblock prints. I’d be curious if they were an inspiration for Mr. Rall.

  • Yes, Lynd Ward, was one of the influences-I admire his work. Other major influences include (as stated by Amid) Lotte Reiniger and the German expressionists (most notably Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, also in Hans color design). Further Frans Masereel, comic artist Jose Munoz and the the directors of German expressionist film as Fritz Lang, Paul Wegener and so on. Woodcut-style in general resonates well with the topic of the film,
    which largely takes place in the black forest.

  • GW

    Wow, this is the sort of beautiful artistic animation I’ve been missing out on since the Russian animation community went under. I don’t know where I’ll be able to see this but I’d definitely like to watch it after it comes out.

  • Glowworm

    I think I’ve actually heard of this fairy tale. The animation looks pretty awesome.

  • Funkybat

    It’s great to see a longer-form short film coming out, especially one with such a unique visual style. The animation is like an endless flow of shape and color. I hope I can see the complete film at some point!