Madame Tutli-Putli

Madame Tutli-Putli


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

This is a startling and effective stop-motion animated film; its visual impact is impeccable. The opening shot details a veritable jumble-sale of random knick-knacks grabbed from a lifetime. They are the belongings of Madame Tutli-Putli - a slender and slight cloth figurine, with a face so lifelike she could have been stolen from the Uncanny Valley. The film tells the story of a nightmarish train journey, to a place any holidaygoer should surely avoid.

Tutli-Putli herself is a magnificent creation. Her huge, bulging eyes are as observant as we are as the spectators in the dark, watching the subtleties of her train companions with distrust, fear and surprise in their sheer oddness - a boy sitting across from her reads a book on How To Handle Your Enemies. The art direction is simultaneously gorgeous (beautiful lighting and well-crafted sets), yet lumpen, curved and ugly, as though exorcised from an exaggerated Expressionistic dream.

Copy picture

As the journey goes on, it devolves into a disturbing symbol-ridden stream of visual consciousness. Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski are enormously innovative in their approach. The camera rarely stops moving in the final third of the film - a genuine miracle in sheer "how the hell did they do that!?" animation. It is as good as anything by Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's art teams firing on all cylinders. Repeat viewings are likely to yield more precious meaning.

Surprising it did not win the Best Animated Short Oscar (it lost out to Peter & The Wolf). An animated marvel.

Reviewed on: 27 Oct 2008
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A woman boards a train with all her worldly goods.

Director: Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski

Writer: Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski

Year: 2007

Runtime: 17 minutes

Country: Canada

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