The 1999 AWN
Oscar Showcase


Download a Quicktime movie. (575 K)

The Canterbury Tales

The animated Canterbury Tales brings together three distinguished animation teams from Wales, England and Russia to realize three of the classic tales, with Geoffrey Chaucer himself as guide and commentator. As these pilgrims progress, their banter and their stories unfold in an original and sometimes sardonic, sometimes streetwise, script by Jonathan Myerson.

As the pilgrims ride out of Southwark on a showery April morning, a story-telling competition is suggested in order to spice up their three-day journey to Canterbury. The Nun's Priest begins and his farmyard allegory about a henpecked husband is realized in bright, vibrant colors. When he finishes, the Knight embarks on a tale of two suitors -- ill-fated playthings of the Gods -- in another, completely differently drawn, animation style. Finally, it is the turn of the Wife of Bath, whose tale, in original, hand-rendered drawings, poses the age-old question, "What do women want?"

The Canterbury Tales. © S4C.

The Canterbury Tales is one of those bedrock British myths, but how do you bring a myth to life? We'd always known we wanted completely different styles for each tale. Joanna Quinn was an obvious choice for The Wife of Bath's Tale, bringing out its feminist side. Aida Ziablikova, a genius with puppet stop-frame animation, was always penciled in for the Pilgrims.

Then we had to find the right voices to bring the Pilgrims alive -- Sean Bean to deliver a perfect deadpan, no-nonsense Yorkshire Nun's Priest, Billie Whitelaw to breathe bumptious life into the lascivious Wife of Bath, and, most importantly, Bob Peck's quiet, world-weary, if amused, voice was the one I always wanted for Chaucer himself.
-- Jonathan Myerson

Writer and Executive Director Jonathan Myerson. (Pilgrims Directed by Aida Zyablikova. Nun's Priest's Tale Directed by Ashley Potter and Dave Antrobus. Knight's Tale Directed by Dave Antrobus and Mic Graves. Wife of Bath's Tale Directed by Joanna Quinn.)

Running Time:

27 minutes