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
The film is based on Czech fairy tale "Otesánek" ("Greedy Guts"). It is a story of a loving but childless couple, Karel and Bozena whose biggest dream is to have a baby. To make his wife smile, Karel digs up a tree root and carves it to look like a human baby. So overwhelming is Bozena's wish to become a mother that by its power, the stump transforms into a living creature with enormous appetites. Very soon, the baby formula and carrot soup are not enough to feet the little monster and mysteriously, people begin to disappear.
"Little Otik" is similar to Svankmajer's earlier feature movies "Alice" and "Faust" but it is more plot-driven, has fewer stop-motion animation sequences that would not even begin until 40 or so minutes into the film. Another problem that has been noted by almost every viewer is that the movie is slightly (126 minutes) overlong and it drags a little toward the end. As excellent as Svankmajer is a live-action director, what makes him unique is the groundbreaking combination of both live-action and darkly-humorous, visceral, and surreal animation and I wanted to see more of it. Still, "Little Otik" is highly original, funny, dark, and sinister with first rate acting from live actors and many great scenes and effects. Young Kristina Adamcová is especially good as Alzbetka, Karel's and Bozena's next door neighbor, precocious and very observant girl. I highly recommend "Little Otik" but I believe that the best introductions to Svankmajer are his short stop-motion and clay-motion films. The DVD includes the B/W 12 minutes long early film "Flat" (1969) - this is Svankmajer in his nightmarish best. We are in the claustrophobic apartment with the film protagonist where every object is an enemy and predator. Pay attention to the ending -"Abandon hope all ye who enter here".
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