Fifty years of the Fim Twinkle Sleepyhead
This month’s archivalia revolves around a fifty-year-old 35 mm film copy of the recording of the puppet show Twinkle Sleepyhead prepared by Črt Škodlar. Although the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia keeps only the Serbo-Croatian version of the recording, we do, however, keep the original shooting script for the film Twinkle Sleepyhead and the digital version of the 2003 film, equipped with original Slovenian sound recording.
This month’s archivalia revolves around a fifty-year-old 35 mm film copy of the recording of the puppet show Twinkle Sleepyhead prepared by Črt Škodlar. Although the Archives of the Republic of SLovenia keeps only the Serbo-Croatian version of the recording, we do, however, keep the original shooting script for the film Twinkle Sleepyhead. The script provides the film crew with a detailed running order of events and includes explanations of individual scenes in terms of the actors' roles, dialogue, scene, camera, light, sound effects … A film may have several shooting scripts, one for every segment of the film crew. A shooting script reflects the whole film in much more detail that its predecessor, the film script.
The film Twinkle Sleepyhead moves closer to the recorded puppet show than to the actual articulated film, which is an advantage. In this way, the authors managed to preserve the noble and artistically complete value of the puppet and the magic of the puppet show, while at the same time retaining film means of expression, such as shooting at a certain frame rate, which adds value to film perception and does not harm theatrical aesthetics.
Twinkle Sleepyhead was born in 1952 from the pen of Fran Miličinski Ježek. It was the first Slovenian children's radio play or, to put it more correctly, it was the first Slovenian recorded radio play, since in those years Radio Ljubljana got its first tape recorder. In 1955, directed by Jože Pengov, the play moved to the stage of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. Its visual design was created by Mara Kralj. This was the start of Twinkle Sleepyhead's famous and successful trip around the world. The play was staged, translated, praised, admired and loved. Published for the first time in 1959, the book Twinkle Sleepyhead was also very successful and went on to receive many awards.
Thanks to Črt Škodlar, Twinkle Sleepyhead landed on film tape in 1965. Her second father Jože Pengov stood by her side for the very last time when, from his sickbed, recovering after a difficult operation, he lent his voice to Godfather Moon who educates Sleepyhead by sending her to Earth. Pengov conducted the shooting at the film studio from his wheel chair.
However, as is usually the case with great characters, dramatic turn of events followed. In 1972, when a restaging of the play was under way, there was a fire at the Viba Film workshops. The puppets and the scene were right before the dress rehearsal for the new staging moved to the Puppet Theatre workshop to be refreshed and beautified. Unfortunately, the Puppet Theatre workshop was right above the Viba Film workshop and Twinkle Sleepyhead and all her friends were consumed by fire and flew to the stars.
For a number of years, the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia has been organizing annual meetings of film enthusiasts. In 2002, we paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Slovenian puppet film, and Twinkle Sleepyhead was, of course, indispensable. The Archives of the RS had only the Serbo-Croatian version of the film, and although we looked for the Slovenian version in every Slovenian film heritage institution our search brought no results. Eventually, Borko Radešček decided to construct Slovenian version of this piece of art, using the film picture of the Serbo-Croatian version and combining it with the Slovenian tone recording from the VHS cassette. In 2003, the digital image of Twinkle Sleepyhead appeared, equipped with original Slovenian tone recording. Interactive choice of digital record enabled the use of Serbo-Croatian synchronization. Still, one could not forget the fact that an important cultural, artistic and human trace was lost for good.
In 2008, Twinkle Sleepyhead was reborn. Based on the film recording, new puppets and scene were created in the workshops of the Puppet Theatre and Matjaž Loboda staged the play in all its former glory.
This month's archivalia is the last in this series of interesting turns of events. A number of Twinkle Sleepyhead's friends came together for this occasion; we rolled up our sleeves and managed to find the long-sought-after Slovenian copy of the film in the archive of the Slovenian Film Centre.
However, our joy is still not complete. The original film tapes of the picture and sound negative are still missing. The original material would need to be permanently protected in accordance with the highest archival standards. It is also high time to let Twinkle Sleepyhead come to life in a luxurious digital version.
Presented here as this month's archivalia are pages 17 and 46 from the original shooting script and the request of January 25, 1965 made by the Triglav Film to the Republic Commission for Film Review asking for the permission for the public screening of the feature film Twinkle Sleepyhead. To make things even more interesting, our readers can also have a look at a short »comic strip«, describing the story of Twinkle Sleepyhead from the time of her creation to the present day, and watch two short scenes from the start and the end of the film in total length of 12 minutes.
Marta Rau Selič