Monday, October 23, 2006

BFFF2006: spoilers and continued rambling


Ran into Adam, who runs the IFFB, at the Brattle tonight, before my second look at THE HOST. He'd mentioned that he thought he saw me at the BLOOD TEA screening last night and asked me what I thought of it.

I told him that I loved the craft of it all, and dig the story, although I thought the card party ran a little bit long. The "card party" was a scene at the mice's frat house with the mice around a table playing cards and drinking blood tea. One of the mice was playing as the doll, with her hands tied to his, to mimic and shadow his movements. He would reach to draw a card, and the doll would reach, then he would take the card and put it in his hand, held in the doll's hand. He also got her to drink the blood tea, which would run into and through her cloth and stuffing body and out onto the floor. Creepy.

He said that he totally appreciated the meticulous work that went into it, and loved the camera work. When he said that, I immediately thought of this one sequence with the oak tree dwellers sewing up the doll's body. They had cutout the cloth for the skin and stuffed it with something cottony, and now were sewing her together along a vertical seam that runs straight down the middle front of her torso. The camera started looking down at the body, an oak tree buddy running a needle and thread through and across the seam, closing her up. Then the view shifted to the inside of her body, looking out thru the closing seam. Smart. Beautiful. Well-done. Thoughtful camerawork and ANIMATED SEWING! This is the sort of thing I was thinking of when I wrote that this animatrix doesn't take any shortcuts.

There's a sort of meta-story that I neglected to mention in my earlier write-up. When I understood how it connected and flowed into the mice's doll and the dwellers' actions, it enhanced the film's coolness for me.

The film opens with a young woman sitting down for tea and cake. When she slices a piece of the cake, bugs come crawling out of it. Lovely, no? =) After a while, the woman notices something else in the cake and reaches in and removes a bird egg. This she takes and drops into the teapot. At this point, the film transitions to the fairy tale world and the home of the oak tree dwellers.

Soon after the dwellers complete the doll and decide to keep her, one of them discovers a bird's egg, floating down a stream that passes their home. He takes the egg to the others and they for some reason decide that it should be kept inside their beautiful doll. So, they unstitch her belly, place the egg daintily inside, nestled in the doll's stuffing, and then stitch her closed again.

So, when the mice abduct her, she is "pregnant." It is in this condition that she plays cards and soaks in blood tea. When one of the mice begins to dance with her, she suddenly begins to twitch and writhe on her own. The mice release her body watch in shock as her belly is broken by a clenched claw from within. The hatched egg has released a bright blue bird with a little girl's face! The bird tests its wings, manages to dodge the startled mice, and escapes out the window into the air.

We see her stretching her wings against the sky for a short while, and she passes the travelling dwellers, who seem to recognize her as the child born of the egg. They turn to follow her, as she continues in the direction of that bird-trapping spiderweb...

Following the blue bird, the three dwellers soon arrive at the spider's home and discover that she has been caught and coccooned by the spider. The spider has a black body, with a human woman's head, and spins webs of red string—the same string used to sew together the doll. The dwellers negotiate with the spider for the release of their foster child, offering some exotic food in exchange for the bird.

The dwellers cut the bird free, but she is already dead. They save the spider's red string from the coccoon and use it to sew the body of the blue bird into a coffin-pouch made from two large leaves. They then commit her body to the stream whence she game, and the water carries her away.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the mice and the dwellers is finally resolved. The film leaves the fairy tale world and returns to the young woman and her tea party. She is pouring herself a cup of tea when a small pouch splashes into the cup. She puts down the teapot and removes the red string-sewn pouch from the tea. When she cuts the string and opens the pouch, she finds a golden gemstone.



For Halloween, Bannor's son dresses up as a knight in his father's Laconian colors, armed with sword and shield. His daughter is garbed as a robed and scythed grim reaper. Their little friend Mac is masked and helmed as an orc and sports a nifty hammer. In their living room, son of Bannor gives the camera an impressive display of his swordplay skills. He draws his sword and begins a frenzied attack at an imagined opponent, threatening, "Take THIS, you pa-THE-tic ORC!" Followed by a what must be minutes of continued thrusts and swings of the blade thru the empty air. The kid is a regular Tazmanian Devil. He yells to his army, "Kill them! Kill them all!" And finally, apparently, dispatches the last of his enemies. He then sheathes his sword and explains, "That's all I have to say."

Man, I was laughing SO frickin hard during that! =)


On the second viewing of the film, I recognized a character that shows up very early in the story.

It turns out that the abducted daughter, Hyun-seo, is carried away to a deep sewer chamber, where the creature is apparently keeping some human snacks for later. Most of his prizes arrive dead, or nearly so. Hyun-seo is beaten up, but otherwise fine, and manages to find a smaller-than-the-creature's-head pipe to hide in.

In a later food run, the beast deposits an unconscious little boy. Once the beast leaves, Hyun-seo manages to rouse the child and ends up doing everything she can to protect him.

Very early on in the film, before the beast makes its debut, we see Kang-du, Hyun-seo's father, working his father's food cart. More accurately, we see him sleeping at the counter. A certain little boy takes notice and we see him attempt to snatch himself some free candy. Unfortunately, his arm is a bit short, and he ends up hopping and reaching over the counter for it with no success. His efforts are abruptly ended when his big brother grabs him by the shoulders and points him in a direction away from the food cart.

Well, it turns out that the would-be candy thief is none other than Hyun-seo's future cellmate in the creature's makeshift prison-cooler. Pretty neat.

There's more, but I can't channel any more of it... I hope you'll get the chance to see THE HOST and DARKON on the big screen soon! (BLOOD TEA... unless you're a filmmaker/animator, maybe you can rent it. =)

Keep on keepin on~

No comments: