Monday, December 14, 2020

Spotlight on Racist Colonial History Through Stunning Stop-Motion Animation

La Casa Lobo (2018) - Cociña, León Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 6.02.13 AM Painstakingly created stop motion animation serves to tell the story of 'the colony (Colonia Dignidad)' in Chile in the 70s, founded by German nazi exiles. Paul Schäfer, the founder, was accused of child molestation in Germany before he came to Chile. On the surface, they were agricultural collective, consisted of 'harmless eccentrics', but the colonists were involved in kidnapping, torture and murder of civilians, working together with Pinochet's military regime. 

La Casa Lobo tells a story of Maria, a German speaking girl who lives in a German colony. She is sweet and innocent. But she was sentenced to 100 days of solitary confinement because she didn't take care of her pigs properly. In a fit of rebellious spirit, she runs away from the colony with her two pigs to a small cabin in the woods. 

La Casa Lobo takes a lot from fairytale elements - from Red Ridinghood to Three Little Pigs. But its representation is nothing but fairytale. The stop motion animation, combining painting and sculpture using clay, paper and other materials, is constantly morphing into something else ingeniously within the confined space. And the images are not pretty but almost nightmarish. 

As the pigs grow up to be pair of brown children, we see that Maria is not the benevolent protector she portrays herself as. Use of German and Spanish are also interesting, highlighting the dynamics of master/servant, colonizer/locals. Endlessly inventive, La Casa Lobo is one of those animations for adults- dark and gloomy, pointy in its politics and mesmerizing in its craft. One of the year's best.

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