Little Otik

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Otesánek
Otesánek poster.png
Czechoslovak theatrical release poster
Directed by Jan Švankmajer
Produced by Keith Griffiths
Jaromir Kallista
Jan Švankmajer
Written by Jan Švankmajer
Starring Veronika Žilková
Jan Hartl
Kristina Adamcová
Music by Ivo Spalj (sounds)
Carl Maria von Weber (musical score)
Cinematography Juraj Galvánek
Edited by Marie Zemanova
Distributed by Zeitgeist Films
Release date
  • 25 January 2000 (2000-01-25) (Czech Republic)
  • 26 October 2000 (2000-10-26) (UK)
Running time
132 minutes
Country Czech Republic
United Kingdom
Language Czech

Little Otik (Czech: Otesánek), also known as Greedy Guts, is a 2000 Czech film by Jan Švankmajer and Eva Švankmajerová. Based on the folktale Otesánek by K.J. Erben, the film is a comedic live action, stop motion-animated feature film set mainly in an apartment building in the Czech Republic.[1]

The film uses the Overture to Der Freischutz (1821) by Carl Maria von Weber as the score.

Plot[edit]

Karel Horák (Jan Hartl) and Božena Horáková (Veronika Žilková) are a childless couple and for medical reasons are doomed to remain so. While on vacation with their neighbors at a house in the country, Karel decides to buy the house at the suggestion of his neighbor. When he is fixing up the house, he digs up a tree stump that looks vaguely like a baby. He spends the rest of the evening cleaning it up and then presents it to his wife. She names the stump Otík and starts to treat it like a real baby. She then works out a plan to fake her pregnancy and becoming more and more impatient she speeds up the process and 'gives birth' one month early.

Otík comes alive and has an insatiable appetite. Alžbětka (Kristina Adamcová), the neighbor's daughter, has been suspicious all along, and when she reads the fairy tale about Otesánek, the truth becomes clear to her. Meanwhile, little Otík has been just eating and growing. At one point he eats some of Božena's hair, and another day she returns home to find that Otík has eaten their cat. Karel and his wife are at odds with Karel pushing for killing the thing and Božena defending it as their child. The baby later consumes a postal worker (Gustav Vondráček) and then a social worker (Jitka Smutná).

The resulting deaths lead Karel to tie up and lock Otík away in the basement of their apartment building, leaving Otík to starve. Alžbětka secretly takes over as prime caretaker. She tries to keep Otík fed with normal human food, but, when her mother stops her, she is forced to drawing straws (matches in this case) to choose a person to feed to Otík. The chosen victim is an old man and pedophile, Mr. Žlábek (Zdeněk Kozák) who has been stalking her recently. Deciding she cannot take the stalking anymore, Alžbětka lures Mr. Žlábek to the basement where he gets entangled by Otik's vines and devoured. Karel himself later becomes a victim when he comes into the basement with a chainsaw but on seeing Otík he hesitates and calls him "son" before dropping the chainsaw. Afterwards, Božena goes into the basement and is heard screaming; having become a victim herself. In the end, Otík disobeys Alžbětka despite repeated warnings and eats all of Mrs. Správcová's (Dagmar Stříbrná) cabbage patch, prompting the old woman to take charge.

Ending[edit]

In the fairy tale upon which the movie is based, the old woman kills Otesánek by splitting his stomach open with a hoe; however, the film ends with her descending the stairs, Alžbětka reciting the end of the fairy tale tearfully; the audience is not allowed to witness the deed.

Cast[edit]

  • Veronika Žilková as Božena Horáková
  • Jan Hartl as Karel Horák
  • Kristina Adamcová as Alžbětka
  • Jaroslava Kretschmerová as Alžbětka's Mother
  • Pavel Nový as Alžbětka's Father
  • Dagmar Stríbrná as Pani spravcova (the caretaker)
  • Zdenek Kozák as Mr. Žlábek
  • Gustav Vondracek as Mládek, the postman
  • Jitka Smutná as Bulanková, the social worker

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 43 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though rather overlong, Little Otik is a whimsical, bizarre treat."[2]

Little Otik was placed at 95 on Slant Magazine's best films of the 2000s.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Alfred (2007). "Preface". The Bohemian Body. University of Wisconsin Press. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-299-22280-2.
  2. ^ "Little Otik (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Flixer. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Best of the Aughts: Film". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 10 February 2010.

External links[edit]