Otesánek (Little Otik) 20/40March 12, 2007 at 7:56 am | Posted in Film, Food, Lent | 5 Comments
Tags: Animation, Czech, Fairy tale, Surreal, Surrealism
I had a very nice week-end, movie-wise. I saw Asoka (India 2001), The Great dictator (USA, 1940) and Otesánek (Little Otik) (Czech Republic, 2000), which was really the one that took the cake. It’s a partly real, partly hand-animated film by surreal director Jan Svankmajer, based on the fairy tale of Otesánek, a root, dug up by a poor worker and made into a doll, as a substitute for the child he and his wife couldn’t afford. But then Otesánek begins to grow and to eat everyone and everything in its way…
In Svankmajer’s film, the Otesánek theme is nicely combined with the story of an infertile couple’s desperate wish for a child where just about anything around them begins to transform into a baby.
The root, originally intended by the husband as a gift to distract his wife a bit, is greeted with such excitement by her that she refuses to ever let go of it again – Veronika Zilkova offering a worrying rendition of a woman sliding into a state of mental disorder.
To be able to welcome the root as her proper child, she stuffs her clothes, beginning to confuse her own acting up with an actual pregnancy. When she ‘gets into labour’, she has her husband drive her to the their garden shed where she keeps the root. He leaves her there, and when he returns, the root has come strangely to life….
Later it will develop the same appetite as the Otesánek from the fairy tale – no spoilers, but just a glimpse of what the story has in stall for the viewer:
And just to explain the countdown: Yes, I am still participating in Lent – now that I’ve halfway made it, I might as well go all to the end. But no point in a daily Lent message really – Lent still sucks and actually makes me occasionally feel sick. I suppose my body misses the daily early sugar ingestion the most – low blood sugar levels make me feel dizzy. And there goes my Lent message, even though I thought not to have one.