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Monday, 14 December 2009

Monica Gallab "Nice Day For A Picnic" (2008)







A second successive film from Belgium with Monica Gallab’s Nice Day For A Picnic, an absurdist short in which a whole bizarre series of incidents loop in an interconnected way. Thus a drowning man struggles to hold onto an upside down chair, or men wrestle a vacuum cleaner from each other, the said machine having been donated by giant men, the tiny men having walked naked over hot coals for the privilege. In a series of revolving rooms, propelled on its way by a young girl, an identical man follows in the loop of the girl’s skipping rope attempting vainly to snip the rope with scissors. Elsewhere the same men walk round a circle of chairs before one stands on one, propelling himself headlong into a light bulb. Such is the machinations of an intriguing film documenting in bizarre fashion the struggles of men to woo the opposite sex or compete with each other in the journey of life. Idyllically, mother, father, son and infant picnic in a bare world beside a huge canvas of a landscape, itself pretty basic. Father admonishes son for throwing ball onto his head, and has to admonish him again, and again. (I teach pupils like this.) Ants crawl over the deserted picnic, a mother peels slices from the back of a tiny man. Monica has drawn and animated the frames in neat, clinical fashion, colour pared down to basics. The man drowns. For all its surrealism there is verisimilitude. Men are treated like this. An intelligent, thought-provoking film.

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