Little Otik

“Before I was born did you sometimes take me out of your tummy and put me back in again?” Little Otik is Svankmajer at his most viscous — a laboratory’s worth of fluids oozes, bleeds, and trickles through each sequence, capturing with a colorful, saturated beauty the inescapable muckiness of existing in bodies that are driven, and often ruined, by hunger. This Grimm-like fairy tale is narrated by a droll, curious little deviant who witnesses the horrific results of a childless couple’s decision to begin raising a varnished log that gains sentience in response to their parenting. Incidentally, the tree-baby in question — Little Otik — has an insatiable taste for human flesh, and it’s not long before he starts eating the building’s tenants, to the increasing chagrin of his adoring parents. Part fable and part satire, the film skewers society’s passive tendencies toward physical repression with results that are in turn hilarious, gruesome, and visually remarkable. The scope of Svankmajer’s stop-motion and puppetry are unprecedented here, but it’s the extended Chagall-inspired cut-out animation storybook segment that binds Little Otik‘s gooey experiments into something strangely sublime.
Dir. Jan Svankmajer, 2000, 35mm, 132 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Little Otik”!
YouTube Preview Image