This short film will get your kid to eat his vegetables — and ponder the nature of the universe!
“Wettessen” (“Chow down”), which will screen on Feb. 4 for the first time in the United States as part of the BAMKids Film Festival, is a chaotic and cacophonous short film from Germany that features angry vegetable-masked mimes that even its creator called, a bit “dada-istic.”
“You could make your own interpretations [of the film,]” said first-time director and longtime musician Burkhard Finckh. “[But] being hungry and eating is something every kid knows on this planet, so they will understand!”
The four minute-long film — which combines stop-motion photography, claymation, carrot-faced mimes, cardboard cutouts, and illustrations made with condiments, along with soundtrack of sounds made with household items from Burkhard’s own kitchen — channels the entropy and irrationality that characterized Dadaism, the avant garde art movement popularized by artists like Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray in the aftermath of World War I.
The funky soundtrack’s German lyrics are essentially a grocery list of popular foods, beginning with sausage and ending with chocolate mousse, punctuated by a chorus of “chow, chow, chow, chow.”
Modernist moms and dads need not worry, either — this film isn’t only for the young dadaists in the house.
“It’s supposed to be a film for everyone, not only for children,” said Finckh, who made the film to accompany the music, which he recorded several years ago.
The surreal short will air as part of “Animation Nations,” a program with ten films from as many countries — including “Monarch” from Mexico, and “Happy Birthday” from Korea — all selected by BAM for being particularly fun and thought-provoking.
“I call it ‘Cannes for kids,’” said Nicole Dreiske, the executive director of the International Children’s Media Center and curator of the festival. She selected her favorite films after sorting through more than 5,000 submissions, with the help a few of Brooklyn’s most sophistocated youngsters. “Kids really have a feel for good films, you’d be really surprised.”
And these discerning kid-cinephiles even have their own movie awards: children — no adults allowed — will vote for their favorites in four categories; the winners will receive a coveted “BAMmie.”
Be sure to keep your eye on the victors.
Last year, the winner of the best animated short category, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” went on to become a viral internet sensation that yielded a popular children’s book.
“Animation Nations” at the BAMkids Film Festival [30 Lafayette Ave. between St. Felix Street and Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4139] Feb. 4-5, 10:15am. Tickets $9 for kids 12 and under, $12 for adults. For info, visit www.bam.org.Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg