A childless couple passes off an anthropomorphous tree stump as their baby, but things get out of hand when the thing comes to life and demands to be fed.

Director:

Jan Svankmajer

Writers:

Karel Jaromír Erben (fairy tale), Jan Svankmajer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Veronika Zilková ... Bozena Horáková
Jan Hartl ... Karel Horák
Jaroslava Kretschmerová ... Paní Stádlerová
Pavel Nový ... Frantisek Stádler
Kristina Adamcová Kristina Adamcová ... Alzbetka
Dagmar Stríbrná Dagmar Stríbrná ... Pani správcová
Zdenek Kozák Zdenek Kozák ... Mr. Zlabek
Gustav Vondracek Gustav Vondracek ... Mladek, the postman
Arnost Goldflam ... Gynaecologist
Jitka Smutná ... Bulankova, the social worker
Jirí Lábus ... Policeman at station
Radek Holub ... Young postman
Jan Jirán Jan Jirán ... Karel's co-worker
Zdenek Palusga Zdenek Palusga ... Uniformed policeman
Frantisek Polata Frantisek Polata ... Plainclothes policeman
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Storyline

When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife's pain, the man finds a stump in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real. When the root takes life they seem to have gained a child; but its appetite is much greater than that of a normal child. Written by bob the moo

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Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, Jan Svankmajer wanted to shoot this film in early nineties and considered to cast Woody Allen and Mia Farrow as Karel and Bozena. See more »

Quotes

Bozena: He's our child and we have to stick by him through thick and thin.
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Connections

Features Meat Love (1989) See more »

User Reviews

Interesting but very strange direction and animation put me off
30 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife's pain, the man finds a piece of root in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real. When the root takes life they seem to have gained a child – but it's appetite is much greater than a normal child.

On paper this story sounds interesting and, for the first 20 minutes, it seems to be establishing a rich vein of dark humour but the delivery of the story really takes away from it. The direction is mostly to blame I think, as it seems to be overly deliberate and lacking visual style. Instead it has far too many close ups – whether it be of faces or (for some unknown reason) soup, tea, sandwiches and anything being eaten. This grossed me out and little and I found most of the animation to be pretty typical of the very rough visceral stuff that you get coming out of Eastern European production companies.

The visuals do really damage the whole film, but I'm open to the fact that I simply don't like this style of animation – a style which was fed into the live action stuff. As a fairy tale it works OK in essence but the weaknesses take away so very much from it. The performances are not really very good. The husband overacts while the wife is either loving or hysterical. The other characters are pretty unpleasant including a snotty little brat and a paedophilic old man (again, I couldn't see the reason for close up animation of a hand coming out of his fly).

Although I do try and watch stuff that is different and try to appreciate it on it's own merits, this was too much for me. The direction was awful, the characters poor and, although the story was new to me and interesting, the weaknesses only served to distract me from everything else. The only thing I can assume is that this was the director's first film and that he brought student habits with him.


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Details

Country:

Czech Republic | UK | Japan

Language:

Czech

Release Date:

25 January 2001 (Czech Republic) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Otik See more »

Filming Locations:

Knovíz, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$125,716
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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