Little Otik (AKA Greedy Guts)
(15) Running time: 132 minutes
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Writers: Karel Jaromir Erben, Jan Svankmajer
Starring: Veronika Zilkova, Jan Hartl, Jaroslava Kretschmerova
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Little Otik is a superb film which i urge everyone on here to watch. Its brilliant, very dark, at times quite disturbing, but ALWAYS exceptional! It tells the tale of a couple who live in a block of flats, and it would seem they can’t have children. They are pestered by their neighbours young girl to have kids so that she’s “not the only child in the block, because she has no one to play with”. This young girl, by the way, is reading up on intercourse and childbirth and knows an awful lot about it. While on the subject of her, there’s plenty of scenes of her at home with her oddly caring mother, and working class father who likes a drink (but not in an alcoholic morbid kind of way, this is a more upbeat acceptable, MANLY kind of way ). The girl often says things at the dinner table which shocks both parents, and seeing their shock the girl ducks in fear her Dad will lash out. He never does, he just looks confused, repeats what she said and looks to his wife for support. Its a small thing, but its genius, warm and quite comforting as you get used to it, oh, and it never loses its humour.
Back to the couple. One day, they find a pice of wood the resembles a child in the garden, so, they decide to take it in, shape and varnish it and treat it like a real baby just for fun. They even go through a fake 9 month pregnancy, just to make it real for all their friends and neighbours. It surreal, but very funny. It does turn dark, because this stump eventually comes to life, and the woman believes it to be her real child. The guy struggles and keeps threatening to chop it up! While all this is happening, our friendly little girl is reading a book on an urban legend about a piece of wood that comes to life, and everything in her book becomes real with the couple. The wooden baby starts to grow and is always hungry, and it just grow and eats. Eventually it starts eating the postman, the social worker and they have to lock it downstairs in the basement in order to starve it to death. This is where the little girl takes over caring for it.
Little Otik is simply brilliant, its good old fashioned story telling with a real charm and charisma about it. The “baby” is produced on screen with stop-motion effects and it looks fantastic. It is dark in places, and at times a little too close to being quite distasteful (there is an ongoing story with this old man who fancies this little girl, when he sees her, he puts on his glasses and becomes sexually aroused), however, where it does get distasteful, it is quickly turned around into something funny. And food, the director seems to have a problem with food!!! He films it as close up as he can, and it all looks like stodge!! Really, this film is great, its brilliant, its perfect!!