|| Sweet n’ Sour Snakes
REVIEW BY EE monk / Daniel Powell
Death of an Orchestra (2006)
A short film by Snake Beings
‘Death of an Orchestra’ is a fun piece of stop-motion animation
in which Snake Beings is on both sides of the camera.
Shot in New Zealand, it’s a simple but effective idea that’s
done with a good idiosyncratic dose of humour. The superimposed jerky
stop-motion of Snakes walking outside a diary (cornershop) gives the film
immediate life as he prances about looking very disapproving in his bohemian-Victorian
attire. Slight shades of John Cleese’s ‘funny walk’
come to mind.
A silver-headed doll mischievously drops a coin from out of the slot of
a black curtained shoebox theatre that is stationed outside the dairy.
Then begins a stop start performance interrupted each time another coin
is needed. This is a delightful and playful idea that is realised well.
A tempestuous Snakes conducts the dolls orchestra, the stop-motion very
effectively accentuating his stork-like posture as he tries to squeeze
order out of the rag-tag collection of silver plastic dolls who are in
what looks like an early Dr Who set in miniature.
All eventually breaks into choas as the dolls orchestra just can’t
get it together to the standards of Snakes, who throws a tantrum, the
film ending abruptly in a state of chaos as Snakes takes out his frustrations
on the shoebox theatre.
The film employs the stop-motion technique knowingly. Snake Beings uses
the technique towards the films ends, exploiting the edgy nature of stop-motion,
and the incongruity of this used with superimposition. This underlines
the fact that he is becoming quite a technically skilled film-maker.
What is also a development is the humour, which follows on from Snake
Beings’ acting role in Michelle Savill’s ‘Martin and
Snakes go to the Zoo’ (2005).
‘Death of an Orchestra’ is a good blast of fun.
It’s short, but sweet and sour.