WOODENHEAD (2003) [Feature]

New Zealand (MIFF 2003 , Regional Focus)
Director: Florian Habicht

A truly unsettling, visually inventive, stylistically thrilling and quite marvellous diamond in the rough. Woodenhead takes the traditional fairy tale and re-processes it through the minds of filmmakers like Canadian master of the peculiar Guy Maddin and animators of the arcane, the Quay Brothers. Incredibly, all of the dialogue and location sound for Woodenhead was completed first and the images shot to fit— a crazed reversal of accepted practice.

An innocent rubbish tip assistant, Gert, is given the task of escorting a beautiful mute 'princess', Plum, on a perilous journey to meet her prospective husband. As with all such mythical quests, their journey is fraught with danger challenges, romance and discovery. The menagerie of characters and animals they encounter, the breath-taking landscape of far-flung corners of New Zealand and the surreal action that drives their trip is all tackled in unforgettable fashion. Mirroring the archetypes of the subconscious and demons from the id that stalk the best work of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, Woodenhead has a bright future ahead, frightening small children and leaving the grown-ups strangely troubled.

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