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Modern Retelling of Classical Legend Short Film Smok 

I think I’ve told you guys about my adoration of short films – no? Oh that’s right – I have –over, and over and over and over and over again. I love seeing the technology and capabilities of people around the world. I totally dig seeing these neat – non-Hollywood -ideas put to the screen. And it also let’s us get a glimpse of new talent that is up and coming in the world of film.

Well, today I have discovered an awesome little retelling of a Polish tale about the Wawel dragon. Smok is brought to us by Tomasz Bagiński, who is an Oscar-nominated director that is most famous for a short film entitled Katedra, and is totally worth a watch if you are interested. Basically the story of Katedra (or Cathedral) – written by the Polish writer Jacek Dukaj – is a simple story about a single individual visiting a mysterious cathedral which comes to life through the course of the short. It’s a hauntingly beautiful movie.

Entitled Dragon, this short film is a modern sci-fi take on the traditional tale. In this movie, instead of a dragon we get a mighty futuristic aircraft manned by a creepy, military-looking thug named Adolf Kamchatkov. He’s not so much interested in livestock as he is in kidnapping attractive women. As a consequence of his wrongdoings he’ll have to face the anger of a young, bright builder of robots named Janek. As you can imagine Janek will try to neutralize Kamchatkov with something a little different than a dummy filled with sulphur. The film is set in modern-day Kraków and features impressive digital effects. The cast includes Tomasz Włosok as Janek, Vanessa Aleksander as Ola, Janek’s sweetheart, and the renowned Jerzy Stuhr. The role of Kamchatkov is played by the Danish actor and ex-bodybuilder Kim Kold.

Dragon is a much more fundamental story. Common in theme throughout all the stories of King Arthur and the myths and legends of Europe. Even the story of King Kong here in America. But before we go any further, why don’t we just roll film on Bagiński’s short, Smok:

Such a gorgeous story. And you can see it immediately, right? The story of the town of Wawel… and the oppression of the dragon. The requisite damsel in distress. The knight and his armor. The knight and his cowardly attempt to save his love from the clutches of the beast. What is really quite fantastic here is that

In the original story about the Wawel Dragon our intrepid hero doesn’t use technology and robots to kill the dragon, but something a little different. A sulphur filled sheep. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about  the original story:

In the versions involving the sacrifice of young girls, every girl in the city was eventually sacrificed except one, the King’s daughter Wanda. In desperation, the King promised his beautiful daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who could defeat the dragon. Great warriors from near and far fought for the prize and failed. One day a poor cobbler’s apprentice named Skuba accepted the challenge. He stuffed a lamb with sulphur and set it outside the dragon’s cave. The dragon ate it and soon became incredibly thirsty. He turned to the Vistula River for relief and drank and drank. But no amount of water could quench his aching stomach, and after swelling up from drinking half the Vistula river, he exploded.

What is great about this particular short film is that it is just one of many different modern retellings that Tomasz Bagiński is doing. Here, try another one out… this one is based on a story where someone makes a deal with the devil. And be warned, this short film has some riskier material in it…

Anyway, you get the idea. Short films, modern retellings of classical legends. Fantastic idea really. Personally adore the idea of a dragon depicted as a drone ship. There is a lot of potential there for a lot more story in my humble opinion. Really cool stuff.

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