Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Blood Tea and Red String: a Feast of Wonders

The other night I finally watched Blood Tea and Red String, a mind-boggling animation by Christiane Cegavske, and I must say, I was really impressed.

The movie has a home-made quality, in much the same way as many of Svankmejer's movies, meaning all the parts of it are lovingly crafted and beautifully-imagined. The "camerawork" (panning and focusing) is dizzyingly versatile, moving in and out and across in the same way that a camera moves in live-action movies.

Much of the plot is mysterious and odd, and to begin with takes a bit of deduction to work out; you find yourself having to let go of preconceptions and simply let it unfold. Ms. Cegavske, who is American, does a bang-up job supplying with body language and camera work what is lost through lack of dialogue.

Some of the images are so extraordinary, so iconic: like memories or dreams. I suppose this is the purview of art, that it makes us feel that completely new images are old, something with which we are already familiar. It feels, as in dreams, that you are meeting someone you already knew, but can't quite place.

And yet, the whole thing was so original, so inspired and strange, that I find myself thinking back on the images as I go through my day. Little glimpses of it come back in the grocery store, at school, in the car, and I find I can't share what I'm remembering with anyone - they would think me too strange.


mordicai said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you! I had never heard of this artist, but I've now spent the last hour going through her website and watching the film clips. I think I'm going to have to get that DVD.

D said...

Happily a friend had that, just a day or so to get to watch it. Thanks for the tip.

D said...

It certainly went beyond what's normal. The symbols used are vague and quite a bit disturbing. Loved the characters, the sound, the effects such as flowing water. The 'camerawork' is indeed exceptional. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

The 16mm print will be playing in Portland OR for Valentine's Day 2008.