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Something's going on up there: "Toys in the Attic" raises a ruckus

An attic autocrat meets his downfall at the hands of a band of freedom-fighting toys in Czech animator Jiri Barta's imaginative stop-motion fable.

“What the hell was that?!

Krusty the Klown didn’t know what to make of Worker and Parasite, “Eastern Europe’s favorite cat and mouse team” when their indecipherable Cold War-era cartoon briefly subbed for Itchy and Scratchy.

It’s a safe bet Krusty would be far more favorably inclined towards Toys in the Attic, an animated stop motion feature directed by Jiři Barta and birthed in the Czech Republic, a land once trapped behind the “Iron Curtain” of Soviet rule.

"Toys in the Attic" director Jiri Barta takes a hands-on approach to his work

This Toys has no relation to the 1960s stage play and movie, or Aerosmith’s 1975 album. There is a strong echo of Pixar’s Toy Story 3, wherein Woody and friends are headed for exile in the attic as Andy prepares to leave for college (but wind up in a day care center every bit as totalitarian as the attic of this film).  Subsequent events save Andy’s toys from said fate…but what if they wound up in the attic after all?

And what if there were already a universe of forgotten toys up there?

Toys in the Attic is a political parable – the overthrow of communism told in miniature scale. It’s too upfront to be considered subtext either, as the film’s production notes make clear: “The world of the attic is divided into the land of happy toys in the West and the Land of Evil in the East.  The despotic Head of State rules over the Land of Evil with a band of sinister minions, insects and rotted vegetables.”

The "Head of State" rules the Land of Evil with an iron fist