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Der fliegende Großvater (The Flying Grandfather)

East Germany, 1964, 10 minutes, color 
Director:  Lothar Barke
Director of Photography:  Helmut Krahnert
Music:  Conny Odd, Addy Kurth
Animation:  Sieglinde Hamacher, Lothar Friederich, Peter Müller, Karl-Heinz Hofmann
Based on the children’s book by H. Behling and H. Kahlow
VHS-PAL, no subtitles
- renting information
When Grandfather and his grandson go for a walk, they are both taken with the kites smiling at them from the sky.  In fact, they decide to get a kite of their own.  Grandmother finds them the best kit:  a giant one with a big, smiling face and a long tail—but it flies away with Grandfather and Grandson holding onto the ends!  Grandmother asks several people for help, either to get them down from the kite, or at least to get their scarves and hats up to them in the cold sky.  Just as it seems they will land safely, the kite is swallowed up by a storm cloud.  When it passes, Grandfather is still flying.  Will he come back down?
The sweet and endearing graphics, along with the cheerful music, bewitch the viewers as much as the kites bewitch the film’s characters.  As with the other short on this tape, Alarm im Kasperletheater, there is little speaking, which makes it particularly appropriate for young or beginning language learners.  This animated short is also a good vocabulary tester;  as the characters run through the town, they pass a policeman directing cars, a woman selling flowers, a clerk at a newsstand, a chimney sweep, and various neighbors, including a doctor and a classical musician.  Short and entertaining, Der fliegende Großvater is a welcome addition to any German lesson.

Alarm im Kasperletheater (Alarm at the Puppet Theater)

East Germany, 1960, 16 minutes, color 
Director:  Lothar Barke
Screenplay:  Lothar Barke
Director of Photography:  Werner Baensch
Music:  Conny Odd
Animation:  L. Barke, H. Schwarzburger, M. Geyer, u.a.
VHS-PAL, no subtitles
- renting information

Kasperle and a group of his puppet friends prepare for his grandmother’s birthday—but a little green devil threatens to intervene.  He steals the donuts for Kasperle’s grandmother, and the other puppets chase him to get them back:  through the village, over water, and even into the sky.  By the end of the chase, the devil has eaten all the donuts.  Luckily Grandmother had plans of her own.  And as his punishment, the little devil ends up with a terrible stomachache!
There is little speaking in this cartoon, and none of it is necessary for comprehension.  Ideal for use in the beginning language classroom, Alarm im Kasperletheater is short and full of action to prompt discussion.  Also on this tape is Der fliegende Großvater, which is similar in terms of its humorous tone, ease of comprehension, and colorful characters.

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