Friday, 19 October 2007

Marta Madureira "As máquinas de Maria" ("Maria's Machines")

This is a fresh, innocent animation from Portugal. Made in 2004 As máquinas de Maria (the link is to the Venice Film Festival) Marta Madureira creates an inventive character in Maria who makes machines. As the child's commentary is in Portuguese I am indebted for the following synopsis from Bjcern. "Maria's favourite hobby is to invent machines. One day she stops being able to come up with more machines, because everything she thinks of has already been done. She gets so sad she loses her sleep. Worried, her mother sends her to the doctor, but he tells her she isn't ill, that her problem is lack of sleep. She just needs to rest. This is when Maria comes up with another one of her brilliant ideas: she hasn't yet built a sleeping machine! At home, she starts to build the sleeping machine, and as soon as it's finished, she turns it on to see if it works. Immediately she falls asleep. We just don't know whether it's because of the sleeping machine or due to the exhaustion of not having slept in many days." I'm fond of machines, intricate clockwork contraptions, Heath Robinson devices, meccano. Maria's dress, her face, arms and the rest are bits of cogs and dials, and her eventual machine's a great beast of a locomotive. It's a lovely concept and execution, quite delightful. (Click on the image to see the detail in the work.) And I wish I had a machine like that to lull me to sleep. Usually it's just doing the gardening.

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