Before making the BAFTA-winning Peter and the Wolf (2006), Suzie Templeton's first animated short was this extremely odd tale of a senior who dotes over a large cabbage while his steely wife develops an increasingly vicious hatred towards her husband and his new veggie love.
The basic story is very simple: the jealous half of the couple eventually plans to dispose of her vegetative rival and benefit from the proceeds by planning a beef and cabbage dinner, while her husband must remove himself from his loopy dreamworld just long enough to put a stop to the plan. His realization of his wife's evil murderous deed comes through a portentous erotic dream that has him bathing the cabbage in a large clawfoot tub, fondling its long, fibrous root.
While it feels like a student film – the daily episodes are broken up by hard fadeouts, and the finale is rather abrupt – there's no denying Templeton's knack for detailed nuances of human movements, and her ability to enliven her puppets' performances through emotive eyes are very unambiguous in their evocation of fear, jealousy, and hatred. The couple are rather grotesque – the texture of their skin resembles desiccated flesh – and the wife is often seen hacking at and slamming down chunks of meat, while her hubby waters and fondles his giant cabbage in the courtyard. Though somewhat Lynchian, the couple still live in a realistic world that's dour, Spartan, and weather-beaten.
Templeton's debut, originally made during her years at the Surry Institute of Art & Design, was follow by another award-winning film, Dog (2002).
© 2007 Mark R. Hasan
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