Priit Pärn and Mari Pakkas, “Eine Murul (Breakfast on the Grass)” (2011)
Nothing like revisiting the scene of the crime when you want an idea for a new animation and Priit Pärn does so in a new version of “Eine Murul” which like his 1987 animation is based on Edouard Manet’s painting “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass)”. This time, the film isn’t about four individuals battling their way through the problems of Soviet Communist society and their own inner demons of self-worth and loathing; they’re simply making their way across the grass in a drunken state towards one another. Their efforts are set to the tune of Maurice Ravel’s repetitive piece “Boléro”, performed in an equally inebriated stupor, and their efforts continue, sometimes laughably and sometimes painfully, until as though by sheer good luck they find themselves in the very positions and postures the original picnickers of the painting are portrayed in. Off-screen audiences applaud enthusiastically and the film closes there and then.
Abandoning pencil-drawn animation, Pärn and Pakkas opt for stop-motion animation of stuffed puppet figures whose floppy invertebrate forms are well-suited for apparent aimless ambling in which they can barely hold their shopping bags let alone move their soft and wonky arms and legs. The backgrounds are minimally portrayed in solid blocks of green or blue colour over which pencil scrawls in different colours suggest blades of grass or reflections in the water.
Not much of a social message can be found here unless Pärn is suggesting that the modern consumer society made possible by corporate capitalism is befuddling people so much that it’s a wonder they get anything and everything done and if something like a pose that resembles Manet’s famous painting occurs, it’s more a miracle than anything intended. After the event, an explanation that makes it less accidental and more intentional must be made.