Monday, 19 March 2012

Alex Schulz "Inner Steppe" (2012)

Dwelling in a spartan hut in a desolate wasteland a man is surprised to discover a narrow gauge railway line ends up smack bang in the middle of his home. We are launched on a journey through an inner landscape as our man meets people central to his self knowledge. Inner Steppe is based on the work of Carl Gustav Jung and Hermann Hesse. I did once read the latter's Steppenwolf and I don't think I understood it at the time, or so my tutor said. German director Alex Schulz proffers an explanation.  Read it and I can assure you that everything will be so much clearer. Or not. In fact, a short stop motion animated film could never hope to elucidate such dense material and Alex's written explanation is an amorphous word maze. I am therefore minded to view the whole exercise as a very well produced, funny prank. There's something fishy about the central character's eyebrows! And there are undeniably highly comic moments in an altogether surreal experience. The website offers pictures revealing the process of animation. Prank or not, the little figures and models, together with the undoubted craftsmanship that has been bestowed on the stop motion animation, reveal rather more than we learn about the Swiss philosopher and Swiss/German author. Interestingly, no-one has actually said it's a joke on Vimeo. And yes, there's serious comment here about persona, but the spooky clowns are not the only pranksters in the piece.

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