Review: ‘Shark In The Head’

An odd mix of fact and fantasy spills from the mind of a solitary Czech into the street around his flat in widescreen character study "Shark in the Head." Though this slender idea yields intriguing results via a variety of filmic techniques, feature-length debut of animator Maria Prochazkova is too long on technique and short on story.

An odd mix of fact and fantasy spills from the mind of a solitary Czech into the street around his flat in widescreen character study “Shark in the Head.” Though this slender idea yields intriguing results via a variety of filmic techniques, feature-length debut of animator Maria Prochazkova is too long on technique and short on story to be any more than a calling card at fests, an out-of-the-ordinary cable attraction and minor vid presence.

Life is a passing show for wide-eyed and seemingly well-meaning Mr. Seman (Oldrich Kaiser), who can be dependably found most days either hanging out the kitchen window of his small urban apartment or pacing around in front of the door in boxer shorts and a T-shirt. Apparently a harmless sort, he befriends a local woman (Jana Krausova) and her daughter (Kristyna Leichtova), helps local workmen erect scaffolding and generally hangs around. But there’s a darker side to this loner, which gradually overtakes his reality. Imaginative animation, stop-motion and various digital effects are employed to visualize Seman’s supposedly deteriorating world, though there’s little tension to his story arc. Tech credits are crisp and lush.

Shark In The Head

Czech Republic

Production

A Bionaut Films production. (International sales: Bionaut Films, Prague.) Produced by Vratislav Slajer. Directed, written by Maria Prochazkova.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Martin Stepanek; editor, Petr Mrkous; music, Jan. P. Muchow. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 10, 2005. Running time: 75 MIN.

With

Oldrich Kaiser, Jana Krausova, Kristyna Leichtova, David Maj, Jiri Labus.
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