Monday, 14 July 2008

"The Stain" Marjut Rimminen and Christine Roche

Marjut Rimminen and Christine Roche made their movie, The Stain, (28mb) in 1991. It deserves greater recognition for it is a classic of its kind created by two richly talented and even pioneering animators and an excellent production team behind them. Commissioned by Channel 4, it is a peculiar mix of puppets and drawn animation. Triggered by a real incident in which two eighty year old twins shot themselves dead over a gravy stain on the tablecloth, the movie reveals, not without lashings of ironic humour, the dark goings on in a domestic home by the sea where secrets are gradually revealed concerning the mother's relationship with her twins and daughters. Produced by Orly Yadin, currently director of the public domain archive company Footage Farm Ltd, narrated by Chrissy Roberts with a richly sardonic voice as if telling a fable to adults (which she indeed is doing.) The screenplay by Harriett Gilbert is a delight whilst the original music by Dick Heckstall-Smith and Dave Moore adds to the melodrama of it all. It is in short a classic piece of animation history. The drawn animation is a particular pleasure as we glance past the family gathered for dinner through the window to the sea where a ship is, totally incidentally, sinking, followed by a fleet of aircraft bombing the remaining vessel. (Click on the above image to see the doomed ship and the quality of the puppets.) The conjoined twins eat their meal whilst big sister waltzes around the house polishing and tidying up just like a real mummy. As the twins progress in their careers the tensions mount and there is a an inevitable explosion. A line or two might give an idea: "She was such a gorgeous little thing, sometimes the big sister wondered if she was not too lovely for this world." Or the following quotation used to orientate us: "In my opinion, the family is probably the most criminal cell." (Jean Genet) The description on Tricky Women of the 11 minute movie as a "dark, domestic thriller" dealing with "incest and intrigue" is a trifle misleading as it misses out entirely on the humour, albeit admittedly of a dark nature. Various download and viewing opportunities are provided in the Internet Archive. Marjut works as a tutor for National Film & Television School though she is very active in film-making, her latest film being Learned by Heart (2007). She graduated from Helsinki College of Applied Art in 1968 as a graphic designer. Christine lectures at the London College of Communication and is a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art. She is a prolific illustrator of books for both adults and children, with a wide brief encompassing drugs education, pregnancy and a young person's guide to saving the planet.

1 comment: