Orginal this was the moomins spot but I keep falling into more interesting stuff about them and their creator that it might take literal years for me to finish it. So a shorter one, about an utterly unique piece of American animation.
Christiane Cegavske is a painter, puppet maker and animator whose work include TV specials puppet designs and painting. She’s been working since the early 90’s and has done some impressive work including the animation in Asia Argento’s unique The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and loads of artwork. Mostly known for her slightly macabre style of painting and puppet making she’s a unique artist that is hard to put in one segment.
Blood Tea and Red String is so far Cegavske only movie, the second part of the trilogy seed in the sand is in production now, and has been a huge favorite of mine since I first saw it in 2007. Shot of the course of ten years with most of it even shot without video reference for the animation it’s a labor of love but mostly allot of blood. Completely done alone by Cegvaske it’s an insane work that makes you wonder.
The plot is that the white mice try and the Rustic Creatures Who Dwell Under The Oak try to fight over the heart of a doll they both desire. It’s a pretty barren plot for a movie that completely drives on it’s visuals. This is the point were Blood shines. It’s a movie that has an unnerving style from it’s janky on purpose animation style that reminds mostly of Svenkmajer’s Alice where it shares some bits in common with. Like Svenkmajer Cegvaske’s puppets slightly resemble something that was alive in the real world once but now is dead and used as puppet which gives it all a very morbid feel.
Morbid overall seems to be the theme of Blood. A movie deeply indebted to the Czéch and Russian school of stop animation it shares the same love for myths, misery, and minimal sound design. Most of the movie’s soundtrack are flute based instrumentals and the clunky sounds of the wind, furniture getting moved and clocks loudly ticking.
Blood Tea and red String is available for free streaming when using prime and is on vimeo-on-demand. It’s DVD with audio commentary has been long of out print and will set you back a pretty penny.
Christiane Cegavske’s new short is on Amazon on july 1st