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 its appetite is much greater than a ...
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A man takes up residence with a mysterious marquis and is soon persuaded to enter into an asylum for preventative therapy. Things are not what they seem, and the marquis may be even more sinister than what the young man may've predicted.
Amateur actors rehearsing "Pictures from the Insects' Life". The actors find themselves living out their characters' roles and hallucinating insects. "Insects", is intercut with the ... See full summary »
BREAKFAST: After eating breakfast, a man is transformed into an elaborate dumb-waiter-style breakfast dispenser - and the same fate befalls the man who obtains breakfast from him. LUNCH: ... See full summary »
A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some ... See full summary »
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
I knew I had to see this movie when I saw a picture of Little Otik, the misshapen cannibal log baby! I expected it to be an strange romp through fairy tales and stop motion, similar to Svankmeyer's other movies like ALICE and FAUST [which i love]. And it was... only LITTLE OTIK was a little less zany, was more plot-driven, and had fewer stop motion sequences. So I didn't like it was much as FAUST, but it was still pretty awesome.
Other reviews can fill you in on the plot if you really need to hear about it, but basically a childless couple "gives birth" to a piece of wood shaped like a baby. The wood baby comes alive...and really, REALLY likes to eat.
LITTLE OTIK's tone is humorously dreary, in an understated way. I especially appreciated the kitchen table scenes where the mother forces her family to eat nasty soup. I lived in provincial Russia for four months and flashed back to my own times around the table, facing a bowl of mush with bones in it... YUM! Jan Svankmeyer really loves to accentuate slurping and belching noises, too. These are some of the most disgusting meal scenes I have ever seen in a movie.
While this movie has more dialogue than a typical Svankmeyer film, much of the story is still told through pictures rather than words. I found a lot of the pregnancy imagery to be pretty well-done, like the juxtaposition of pictures from the little girl's sex-ed book with footage of the father cutting down the tree which will become Otik. You don't realize the significance of that montage until after Otik is born, then it all makes sense.
There are a few negative sides to the movie. For instance, I wasn't such a big fan of the parts where the girl reads the fairy tale out loud we see pictures of it. A similar device worked in Alice but was kind of needless here, since no one watching the movie would really need the plot spelled out for them, at least not in such detail. I mean, all we need to know is that there's a legend, that the girl is familiar with it, and that the cabbage patch will play a big part in the story. Now, if the folk tale had been shown in stop motion, I would have loved it!!
Also, I got a little weary of the constant close ups, especially of peoples' mouths. And as others have noted, the movie ran about 20 minutes too long. Probably some of the pregnancy footage in the first act could have been edited.
Overall my criticisms are few! I'm glad I saw this movie and would definitely recommend it to other Svankmeyer fans!!
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