Blood Tea and Red String by Christiane Cegavske

Christiane Cegavske’s stop motion, adult fairy tale never breaks from its stylized, folk gothic atmosphere, and yet the subtle and disturbing realism found in the movements of her characters, derived from an understanding of human movement and psychology sought after by the best animators of any generation, has sent shivers of both glee and horror down the spines of millions of cult fans and animation lovers since the film debuted in 2005. Blood Tea may be an animated film, but it would never be mistaken for a cartoon.

The film follows two groups of creatures, the gentle, furred, wingless crow creatures and the cruel, villainous, blood drinking white mice, and their creation and subsequent pursuit of an impassive but much adored doll. Though the film begins with its protagonists firmly established, the love, desire, and obsession that both creatures feel for the doll, and the ways their shared infatuation begins to control their actions as they become increasingly deranged and distorted in their attempts to own her, begin to blur the lines between good and evil, while holding the viewer in a heart wrenching emotional grip. This furor is compounded by Cegavske’s relentless use of cinematic camera angles, gory close ups, and dramatic sound effects.

Influenced by Svankmajer (Cegavske claims to have been strongly impacted by Alice), Blood Tea and Red String relies heavily on crisper-than-life, bone chilling audio effects, as well as its haunting, anachronistic soundtrack which aligns aptly with Cegavske’s hand crafted film.

Blood Tea and Red String was thirteen years in the making; thirteen years of tiny sets and hot lights which took over Christiane Cegavske’s various apartments, and thirteen years of loving, almost unsettling attention to detail – care which Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Tim’s Burton’s troupes, would only ever dream of. Blood Tea and Red String may not be for the faint of heart (or those on the drowsy side, as the film moves at a stubborn pace), but for fans of all things earnest, curious, or macabre, Cegavske’s film is an extraordinary treasure.

– Nic Van Roon
Syphilitic Mermaids Magazine


~ by cineflyer on December 7, 2009.

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