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Little Otik (Otesanek) review

The fourth feature from veteran cult animator Jan Svankmajer, whose previous films have retold the stories of Faust and Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, sees him return to his roots with his take on an old Czech folk tale.

Bozena (Veronika Zilkova) and Karel (Jan Hartl) are happily married, but cannot have children. As a joke, Karel presents his wife with a tree stump he has carved into a baby, but the joke is on him when the impossible happens...

Svankmajer's macabre take on life is always interesting, but his talents are not suited to features. He waits far too long before springing the film's surprise on us, while his crude animation techniques look out of place in a live-action film. There is a great film somewhere in here, but drastic editing would be needed to find it. Despite flashes of brilliance, watching Little Otik is a long and ultimately frustrating experience.

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