Three to See: Mysterious Animals Edition!
by Kerstin Larson, Cinema/Festival Programmer, friend to all creatures great and small
Everyone loves animal movies. From Babe to Kedi, our furry friends never fail to make a compelling story! Most of the time, animals in movies are presented at face value. They're cute, they're cuddly, and they're emotionally manipulative. But this year, we have a lot of mysterious animal movies in the festival. I think I can confidently say that all these animals are metaphors. But for what, you ask? Well, you'll just have to watch the movies and let me know what you think.
The black bear
Black Bear is not as much about a black bear as its name would imply. The film is broken into distinct segments, each punctuated by the titular animal's appearance. The plot is chock full of catty drama, hysterics, and all number of rich people problems, and I'd like to think that the bear is there to remind everyone that, sure, your lives are hard, but it would be even worse if you were getting mauled by a bear! Perhaps some good perspective for us all.
H is for Happiness
Yankee Doodle the mini horse
Yes, H is for Happiness is a kids movie, but I can't recommend it enough for audiences young and old alike! It's thoughtful and poignant, while still being vibrant and whimsical. An element of this whimsy, is the magical mini horse that lives in the woods! Yankee Doodle the mini horse could be a metaphor for any number of things. Whether it represents trepidation about growing up, hope for a better tomorrow, or just plain old fun, there's one thing I do know and that is that mini horses are very cute.
To the Ends of the Earth
Okoo the goat
Okoo the goat is the best mysterious movie goat since Black Phillip. Okoo's experience is a good metaphor for Yoko's narrative arc in the film. Yoko "rescues" Okoo from his humble Uzbek farm pen and tries to use him to create a more meaningful story for her Japanese travel show (animals are an emotionally manipulative plot device, like I said), but the segment ends up looking artificial and Yoko is left feeling jaded all over again. Will Yoko and Okoo ever reach self-actualization? Spoiler alert: yes.
Bonus animal: The Bramul, a mythical, giant puddle fish