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A father and son ride the rails in their powerful locomotive. Witnessing a crash between two other engines, they rescue the lone survivor, Berenice, and make her a part of their family. All is well until the father and son become rivals for the girl's affections and perform a series of dare-devil feats to win her heart. She runs off with a zeppelin pilot, and, after Keller mounts a brief kidnapping attempt, the despondent men are left to their bizarre fates. Written by
After the successful art-house release of Guy Maddin's feature film Careful in 1992, and the made-for-tv half-hour The Hands of Ida, Guy was commissioned by the BBC in 1994 (along with a select few filmmakers around the world) to choose a favourite work of art and make a short film about it.
Guy chose "The Eye Like A Strange Balloon Mounts Towards Infinity (After Edgar A Poe, 1882)" by Odilon Redon, the great French symbolist painter. Eye Like A Strange Balloon taken from a period of Redon's life where he used charcoal almost exclusively up until the 1890's (when Redon started using pastels and colours in his work), contributes much of the inspirational source for this brilliant short film.
This film does remind one of a dark charcoal painting come to life. The film was shot in black and white on a 16mm Bolex, edited on a Steenbeck, with minimalist music added by Roger White and an excellent sound design by Clive Perry.
For those interested in short films and surreal art, The Eye Like A Strange Balloon is a great introduction.
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