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Little Otik (2000)

Cast: Veronika Zilkova, Jan Hartl, Jaroslava Kretschmerova, more...
Director: Jan Svankmajer
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Genre: Foreign, Czech, Killer Critters, UK
Running Time: 126 min.
Subtitles: English
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Acclaimed animator Jan Svankmajer combines cartoon and live-action imagery to bring to life a bizarre story based on an old Czech folk tale. Karel (Jan Hartl) and Bozena (Veronika Zilkova) are a married couple who desperately want a child, but have been unable to conceive; Alzbetka (Kristina Adamcova), an only child who lives next door, has long wanted a friend to play with and feels for the couple's sad dilemma. One day, Karel is digging up an old tree stump when it occurs to him that the roots look a bit like a baby; Karel brings the stump home and carves it into the image of a child, and Bozena expresses so much love for the wooden infant that it comes to life. Karel and Bozena name their new child Otik, but their joy is short-lived when they discover the infant has a bottomless appetite -- so much so that Otik begins eating stray animals and even people in an effort to satisfy its hunger. Karel and Bozena hide Otik in their basement to keep it from harming others, but Alzbetka feels sorry for the strange child and begins bringing Otik scraps of food. It soon becomes obvious that this isn't enough to keep Otik satisfied, so Alzbetka starts luring people from the neighborhood into the basement -- letting Otik do the rest. Otesanek was screened in competition at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Be careful what you wish for. by Misshaped July 8, 2004 - 10:56 AM PDT
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
In the great Hollywood tradition of films based on the troubles of parenthood (Eraserhead, Raising Arizona, Rosemary's Baby, and the like), Little Otik gives us the Eastern European outlook. "In a Czech Republic created from the Velvet Revolution of Vaclav Havel, Little Otik clearly says that humans should not cop out on their responsibilities to others or sweep misconduct under the rug but should instead look beyond the immediate present to the long-range consequences of their behavior to their societies." For more insights into the politics of this film. It is as well a new version of the Faust myth: when one rebells against nature, there will always be a tragic reaction to that rebellion.

Jan Svankmajer's technique is brilliant, and there is a great animated sequence in the middle of the film. I love the film within a film. Some have complained that the film is too long (2hours), but I didn't have any trouble with the time.

If you like it, make sure to add The Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.25)
143 Votes
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