Monday, December 07, 2009

A Mysterious Train . . .

Madame Tutli-Putli
(Image from Wikipedia)

I believe that the year was 1984 when I took my only truly long train ride, boarding first in the Bay Area and going northeast to Chicago through the mid-December cold, then turning south and traveling to Texas to see a friend before heading north again for the Ozarks, where I spent the Christmas with my family, and that was merely half the trip, for I returned to the Bay Area by train as well, traveling the southern route this time, most of the moments silently expended lost in my own thoughts or watching other travelers lost in theirs when I wasn't reading books or writing letters, but also meeting two writers, a married couple who told me a ghost story that they claimed was true . . . but writers are liars.

Why do I remember this long-ago trip? Because I have just watched Madame Tutli-Putli, a seventeen-minute stop-motion-animated film from 2007 by Canadian filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, having been led to it through a visit at my blog by someone coming from a blog titled Skryfblok, which I visited in turn and found the film embedded there, but it's also available on You Tube.

Madame Tutli-Putli, burdened down with all her possessions, boards a night train and finds herself seated among various other silent passengers, all headed God only knows where on a trip that grows increasingly sinister -- or is that solely Tutli-Putli's imagination -- until some light is shed at the film's mysterious end.

There's at least one scene that children shouldn't watch, unless they want to have nightmares, but the film likely wouldn't be scary for grown-ups . . . unless you're an already nervous, fearful adult like Madame Tutli-Putli.

The mysterious imagery is densely enough textured to provide an illusion of unreal reality, and the original soundtrack gives expression to the feelings that we also glimpse in Tutli-Putli's haunted, hunted, but expressively human eyes.

Recommended for your inner existentialist on a train headed reluctantly toward that ineluctable Sartrean encounter with nothingness . . .

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At 5:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Krapelax, your pen name sounds like a laxative. I don't mean that as an insult; it's simply the case. Did you intend it?

I usually delete unsolicited advertisements, but I'll let your self-extolation remain. Readers can decide whether or not to visit your various blogs.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sorry, Kraxpelax, I overlooked that extra "x" -- must be my dyslexic tendencies. It sounds slightly less laxatival . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:44 AM, Blogger Sa-Rah said...

I read your blog today, and got the creeps.
While I was reading, I actually wanted to see the short film, but the next sentence stopped me; "There's at least one scene that children shouldn't watch, unless they want to have nightmares..."

You could explain to me later about the film, because I really want to know what its about!
(I can't take a risk to watch the film - espically when I can't get good sleep - because you're right, I'd probably have nightmares!)

I hope today's writing was okay for me to read. You warned me to be careful, and not to read stuff that I am too little for.

Interesting character, Madame Tutli-Putli.... The picture is nice, even though its a bit mysterious in a horror-like way.


At 11:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

More corrections:

". . . but the next sentence stopped me: "There's at least . . ."

". . . to know what it's about . . ."

". . . film -- especially when I can't get a good night's sleep anyway -- because . . ."

". . . though it's a bit . . ."

As for the film, Sa-Rah, you can probably watch it with Mama, I think, for it's not so terribly scary.

Jeffery Hodges

. . .

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Teacher Leo said...

I was born into a railway family - both grandfathers served in some capacity on the trains, and one of them retired to a house overlooking the shunting yard just outside of Johannesburg. Many hours were spent sitting on that porch and watching trains being assembled for their journey, and even though I could see the nuts and bolts, they still are mysterious.
As for train journeys - well, it was the way to travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town - 38 hours all told, and I made many such trips.
Maybe one day I'll write up the stories, some of which are very bit as creepy as this little video.
Suffice it to say that one of the trips had me sleep with a knife under my pillow for at least a year...

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Teacher Leo, if you blog on any of that, then let me know.

Jeffery Hodges

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