Blood Tea and Red String (2006) torrent download

Blood Tea and Red String

2006

Animation / Fantasy

7.1

Synopsis

Stop-motion fairy tale for adults. This dialogue free film tells the tale of the struggle between the aristocratic White Mice and the rustic Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak over the doll of their heart's desire. The Mice commission the Oak Dwellers to create a beautiful doll for them. When she is complete, the Creatures fall in love with her and refuse to give her up. Resorting to thievery the Mice abscond with her in the middle of the night. Meet fantastical creatures and view dazzling scenery as the Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak journey through this mystical land to reclaim their love. See the mice descend into debauchery as they become drunk on blood tea! See what happens when the Oak Dwellers eat the yellow fruit!

Director

Christiane Cegavske

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tedg N/A

Alice's Rosencrantz

I saw this on Christmas Day and was rather thankful. 2006 has been a bad year for movies and at the end of each year I start to put together my additions to my short list of films everyone should watch before they die (if they want to be lucid in a film life).

Only two per year are allowed and I had none for 2006. I may put this on the list of what I call "Fours."

Its a short film that seems excruciatingly long. Its a flaw that I think starts to work for the thing after it has stopped working against it. The reason is a matter of pacing. Usually, we look to cinematic storytelling to be economical, like say it is in dreams. Something is shown only as it adds value, nothing is shown for mere completeness. We'd wonder about a filmmaker that shows us every act of the detective driving to an interview: opening and closing car doors, turning the key, fastening seat belt and so on.

In this movie, the filmmaker apparently hasn't mastered the notion of economy. If you have three mice and each is to eat three worms, prepare to see nine worms roasted, grabbed, chewed and swallowed. If you have three mice rescued from carnivorous plants, you'll have to see the entire rescue in detail three times. I suppose if you spend a month for a minute of film (what this works out to) you would be reluctant to cut. So your first impression is likely to be that there is no imposed rhythm, that the thing plods.

But it works for it, I think in an unintended way. The early Herzog had a trick: he would shift in and out of documentary mode with his camera. When in that mode, he would act like a newsman discovering and documenting something real. The camera would catch what it could and linger wherever it happened regardless of narrative necessity. It had the effect of making what we saw real. And of course it was: we saw a crazy man in a South American jungle doing crazy things that we knew were really done as we saw them.

But Herzog in those same films would insert formal shots. Stylized poses and action that reminded starkly that what we are seeing is something staged, artificial. Moving between these two modes is one of the most effective cinematic devices in the book, and that's what we have here. Some shots are so stylized, they're clichés: beings on a quest silhouetted by a setting sun. It works.

We also have what I call folding, tricks to place us in the thing. The story is a bunch of dolls placed to evoke emotional memories in us, and the story has them (those very dolls) obsessed with a doll. Also, if you know the history of fantasy well, you'll immediately recognize that this in an inverse Alice in Wonderland, instead of Alice imagining animals, they imagine her. More: there's a wonderful teaparty, card game which has many enticing elements, the one of note here is that they play with cards that have no faces. Later, the "story" is drawn on those faces.

Finally, we have a framing device. The story features an egg that appears down a stream, is placed in the doll, hatches and things happen. It is framed by the living doll pouring tea, placing an egg in the teapot (which in the story will come floating down a stream). At the end of the story, an object in a pouch is placed in the same stream by the mice and it appears in our living doll's teacup. A bit dear but clear.

And all of this before we get to the actual images. They are extremely effective. Absolutely, breathtakingly engaging. They are original, and sharp because of it. No, there's no Quay or Svankmejer in this. No, it's not dark in any respect. I've said before that to make interesting films you have to be an interesting person. Encountering this makes me think there is an interesting person in this woman, someone worth knowing, though I suspect unless you fully enter her world she will not touch you.

Back to the film, when you watch it, notice how she handles the psychedelic sequence. Its a well known problem in film: how do you show something that is by definition unshowable? How do you use vision to bend vision, the actual process of cognition? What she's done here is gentle, not wild. But it is effective and original. Barriers rather than colored lights. William Morris intercessions.

A final note. The sound. Its sparse, sharpedged, economical in ways the visuals aren't. An amazingly effective compliment.

It may be that this is an unrepeatable event, that we may not get another special thing from this woman. Or it may take too long, but let's hope not. In any case, she's in my life in a small way now, and may find her way into yours if you experience this.

Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.

Reviewed by oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx 10 /10

Delirious macabre. Film-making for the end of the world.

It's hard to describe the delirium of watching this movie, you get to see three albino mice in Elizabethan costumes playing gin rummy with blank cards whilst sipping blood tea. The clanking of porcelain cups and ticking of the clock makes for a frenzied enough soundtrack to push this reviewer over the edge all by itself. There is also a spider in this movie with the head of a Mrs Danvers who calmly mummifies the hummingbirds she catches in her web with red string. Another of the menagerie is a crow with a skeleton head. This is theatre of the macabre par excellence, and certainly would not suit all viewers.

There is a sense of messianism and deep longing in the white mice towards the doll of their affection which I found actually quite touching. This sense of the mystic is not to be found in similar stop motion features like Jan Svankmajer's Alice. I sometimes wonder if we, like the mice in the movie are simply child-like in our existence, fumbling for meaning, victims of an experience that we cannot possibly understand in the round.

The sense of composition in this work is so exquisite. Of course with a film that is almost a solo effort by Cegavske, and which took over a decade to complete, one would not expect anything else. But the devotion does shine through. You could take so many frames from this movie and hang them on the wall.

Reviewed by apsulute 10 /10

An art film by its own rights

Je prie de différer mon ami...

Mrs. Cegavske clearly states in her commentary that she does not choose to *tell us* what her symbolism means! Thus leaving us to discover our own meaning... such is art. And this is at its core an art film via the medium of Stop Motion Animation.

She clearly had a demonstrable mastery over the personalities of her creatures, living and breathing life into them over the decade of animating their world. Some may lack even a soft focus to take it in whole-cloth... such is the curse of the soft machine in its unrefined state.

As far as comparing her work via other artistic films, this is a magnum opus that few modern Americans seem capable of anymore. I think M. Barney's Cremaster Cycle is of a similar scope although altogether a different beast. I think the CGI herd of consumer product tie-in driven pabulum can't hold a candle to this class of animated art. No fast food toys are promoting this feature!

I hope her next two films will come out in a shorter time frame while holding level with, if not building on, her obvious talents.

One thing I note is that she is a solo female filmmaker while most of the prior stop motion we have seen comes from the imaginations of men... an obvious point of departure and perspective in this film. Not since Lotte Reiniger's cut-outs have we seen this level of work on the silver screen from a female artist.

*Minor spoiler* For me the scene depicting the cats-cradle showcases how extraordinary this woman's technical skills are and in addition to the gravity defying scenes created by ONE set of hands! Mark Growden deserves his due in cross-defining the films tempo and tempest with his soundtrack.

This film takes its rightful place among true art-films, amazing but marginalized, particularly within the American marketplace choked blue by our cultural moneychangers!

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