‘Blood Tea and Red String’


A sickly-sweet stop-motion animation 13 years in the making, Blood Tea and Red String is a genuine piece of outsider art. In the film’s anthropomorphic world, the bitchily aristocratic White Mice commission the “Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak” (rats with crow’s beaks and pig ears) to construct a female doll. The Oak creatures fall in love with their Galatea, and journey toward the Mice’s domain to retrieve their Kabuki-faced lady. Oppressively interior, Christiane Cegavske’s film has no dialogue (only screeches) and proceeds on the enigmatic logic of the filmmaker’s fanciful imagination. The sunflowers don smiley faces and skulls, the spider’s human head sneers, and the doll gives birth to a full-grown bluebird. A fable on racial and class divides surfaces, only to dissolve. As with Henry Darger, coherence is beside the point; one just waits for the next baffling image.