In the Attic

Legendary Czech stop-motion master Jiri Barta’s first feature in over 20 years is a diabolically inventive tale, four parts Toy Story and one part David Lynch, as a group of abandoned toys stage an ambitious rescue of their kidnapped friend. Set behind the doors of a dusty attic, an adorable doll named Buttercup lives in a steamer trunk and plays mom to a motley group of friends: the station master Teddy Bear; lumpy ball Schubert; and the Quixotic marionette knight, Sir Handsome, who attacks his enemies valiantly with a sharpened pencil. But in this enchanted world where every day is a birthday, evil is lurking. One day, a black cat appears, kidnaps Buttercup, and takes her to the Land of Evil ruled by the villainous Head, a maniacal Cold War military bust who commands an army of mechanical, mustachioed cockroaches and an all-seeing spying eye. Both a spooky children’s fairy tale and a Soviet-era allegory, In the Attic marks a career highpoint for Barta who, along with Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay, made stop-motion animation an art form and paved the way for modern hits like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.