World-Wide Viewer Comments:
The following are comments from Nomad
Festival 2002 (several sites along the US West Coast):
"I absolutely loved this movie. Why? Because I had a serious
gut-heavy big all out laugh for the entire short. I loved the visuals, the words, the music, the absurdity of the exposed
"This felt like a full-length classic silent movie but in 1/64th the time! So efficient! Well done! (What
drugs do you use by the way?"
"Finally, I'm looking forward to next year's Wimbledon. Thanks."
dog is genius!"
"Clever as Czech films often are, but this one is actually good and funny in a political way."
only one people clapped for."
"Just linear enough to be brilliant."
"Fucking awesome. Like nothing I've ever
seen. Truly original, recycled, all at once."
"Music is wonderful. This is a contemporary Un Chien Andalou but fucking
great! The color and images were wonderful. Twisted"
"Clever interplay of animation and surreal images. Sophisticated
handling of themes and production. Amusing satire, provoked spontaneous laughter from audience."
"Something very very
very important is happening."
"I liked it. Strange modern images, old style feel. And in the end an old feud between
Nike and Reebok. Very funny that."
"So bizarre! You know the scene with the women in apricot dresses and flames, dancing?
Well, I wanted to watch that forever."
"What a strange collage. I like how it's been done,the quality and the backgrounds.
Improvised? Best movie so far. Gives me hope, makes me feel like moviemaking isn't so limited and strict."
THE COOLEST, MOST RANDOM THING I'VE SEEN..."
Comments by Manuel Martínez Carril Director Comments from Cinemateca
Uruguaya XVII Film Festival, 1999:
Your ten-minute short film was exhibited yesterday and it is going to be also screened
for tomorrow. Yesterday, the movie theatre was practically full of people. TENNIS MATCH was exhibited together with TRANCEFORMER:
A PORTRAIT OF LARS VON TRIER, a very important Argentinean long feature film (its name is BOLIVIA), and the French production
PETITS ARRANGEMENTS AVEC LES MORTS (PEQUEÑOS ARREGLOS CON LOS MUERTOS). The comments of the critics and many guests invited
were very enthusiastic about your short film, and also the Selection Committee liked it a lot.
Dear friend!!! You win the first prize!!! Experimental category. Please, see
our website: http://www.cinemateca.org.uy In the next days you receive more information. At last minute we decide to include
your film, because we see it and trust in Tennis Match!!
Comments from the 19th Atlantic Film Festival Halifax, Nova
Scotia September, 1999:
From the Czech Republic comes perhaps the single most bizarre piece of animation to hit this
year's festival. A tennis match between good and evil and everything in between ends with something resembling a victory for
somebody. Alternatively dark and Kafkaesque with flashes that are unapologetically silly, Tennis Match is funny, provocative
Comment by Christopher Arnott New Haven Advocate Newspaper April, 1999:
If we'd been on the
jury, we'd have given all the prizes to Tennis Match, a series of sinister Expressionist tableaux (subtitled into numerous
languages and alphabets, and dripping with double exposures and other artsy [effects] in which a zombie and dog defeat
the dastardly corporate overlords of Wimbledon.
Comments by Antero Alli Organiser, NOMAD Videofilm Fest May/June 1999:
One of this year's winning entries, Tennis Match (from Prague), is a good example; it's mediamaker Robert Ellmann's
first work. He had access to a small crew of actors, technicians, a shooting studio and some computer animation software.
Now sometimes, I think, creativity can be dampened by too many toys to play with, but Ellmann's wry humour and obvious love
for the media-making process made Tennis Match work for me. He probably had more fun making it than I had watching it. And,
I loved it. It has this almost Beatlesque look about it but much darker; he's from Prague. Picture Kafka navigating a Yellow
Comments by Programming Director Matthew Curtis and Programme Guide Comments
Florida Film Festival April and June, 1999:
We have nothing else like it in our international shorts showcase. It
blew us away. Just an incredibly cool short. Audiences found your film extremely amusing, and it was the perfect kick-off
for the International Shorts Program.
A bizarre and wildly entertaining piece of avant-garde video animation. An inventive
experimental work that recalls George Melies, Guy Maddin and Monty Python.
Comments from the Fine Arts Cinema/Berkeley,
NW Film Centre/Portland, Port Townsend Centre, and 911 Media Arts Centre/Seattle July, 1999:
Clever stuff and I do
not like tennis. Brilliant mix of genres. Wonderful visuals, and so damn witty; it was so beautiful to look at and it made
me quite happy, though the big skull at the end scared me; I really enjoyed that it looked like an old movie. This was my
favourite one. The style of this thing was so so so unnervingly groovy. Style as absolute signal? Brilliant, I liked
the dark music and horror movie images combined with a bizarre, light story. It's nice to see that a message can be
conveyed without losing a sense of humour. Smart & crazy & funny. Surrealism brought to a contemporary level. No more
Duchamp, away with Magritte! It's in this unconscious tennis match. The future is in SPORTS! ADVERTISING!! Fun, engaging cinema.
Brilliantly original and hilarious. Loved the Nike man! Irritatingly clever, sometimes quite funny. The Reebocks? Gothic kitsch?
At once exquisite, sophisticated and poetic with loads of references, yet still child regressive humour makes it a one liner
when it shouldn't be. I laughed. I cried. I felt removed however. I think it was because I was wearing Converse hightops.
Good humour out of Slavic depths. Fanciful, humorous & a delightful piece.1908 Cinematic Surreal treat. This was by far
my favourite, wonderfully entertaining. David Lynch & Monty Python together at long last! An excellent piece blending
comedy with a sense of the macabre. You rock! Love the cinematograph feel, wit, multilingual.Laughing out loud, plenty. Perfection.
COOL! THE COOLEST!! BEYOND ALL COOL! BRAVO!!!
Great music, quirky cartooning, and HUMOUR; this was as funny as it was bizarre. Laughter and Joy smile
upon our eyes. Very amusing juxtaposition. I loved the spirit of play behind the creation of this piece. Some of the quirkiest
stuff I’ve seen. The level of outlandish humour combined with the visuals made for a surrealism that was much appreciated.
Very nicely done. I love the Metropolis feel to the cinematography. Nice use of humour and irony at the end!!
by Cucalorus Festival Director Kristy Byrd and Local Newspaper Coverage July, 1999:
Your film was the hit! A favourite
of all is the somewhat surreal expressionist piece, Tennis Match. The opening title touts, An evil company controls tennis
and only a zombie can stop it.’ Elements of Dr. Caligari with a twist of Terry Gilliam.
limit their selections to the Visa-card-financed indies. These were interspersed with home-made gems of incredible style and
audacity, like Robert Ellmann’s short from Czechoslovakia, Tennis Match, in which the seemingly incompatible elements
of a Wimbledon tennis game, a zombie and Nike shoes ingeniously collide, arriving at something
like Todd Haynes via Tim Burton.
Comments by New Haven Festival Director Nina Adams April 13, 1999:
was terrific--really good crowds and publicity. Over 40 films were represented--but no one from a distance like yours. We
did want to tell you that one ballot for TENNIS MATCH said "this is the coolest film EVER .”
Comments from Movies
on a Shoestring March 11, 1999:
Most of our members found this to be a very amusing, original, and inventive film.
The following are a few excerpts from their reviews: An interesting combination of computer graphics and live footage. Fantastic
collages of moving images. A bizarre meeting of Monty Python and Melies. Too much Terry Gilliam. Ancient feel in texture,
architectural detail and music. Interesting graphics. Offbeat. Funny. Reminiscent of early film. Music was well-chosen for
film. Pass the popcorn, please. Nike sometimes loses.”
Comments by Donna Maxwell Valleyfest March 23, 1999:
"Tennis Match was the favourite animation with the audience though the judges saw fit to give the award to "The Dirt
On Mom" also a terrifically creative piece. Anyway, Tennis Match was my personal favourite.”
Comments by Letní
filmova Director Jirí Králík In Uherské Hradi, April 14, 1999:
I like films [similar to] Gilliam and Rybczinsky but
they are not my favourites.
Comment by Karen van Meenen President 41st Rochester International Film Festival April
2 & May 24, 1999: "Congratulations! Robert. The audience loved your film; one young man came out of the screening that
night and told me it had inspired him to finally take a film class!" [Ellmann note: maybe I will take a film class too one
Comment by Dallas Newspaper Concerning Dallas Video Festival July, 1999:
There’s Power in the
Image [a segment of the festival], a compilation of shorts, is perhaps one of the festival’s best examples of video
at its subversive best, featuring a tennis match between a zombie and a somnambulist sponsored by Nike.
festival participant Sofi:
Hello, I saw your movie at the New Haven Film Festival and I thought it was absolutely
incredible. Would you please e-mail me information on how to get a copy of Tennis Match, and information on other movies you
have made? Your short film was the best movie I saw at the film fest, and I would be really interested in anything you have
worked on. Thanks a lot.