Sea Dog´s Devotion
"The effect of beauty on a person is that it strikes him dumb"
Anna Kalus´ Sea Dog´s Devotion strikes its viewers dumb: This silent animation film is wordless, though it is based on words, and develops its form and its theme loosely according to the macabre and subtly necrophilic poem Seemannstreue by Joachim Ringelnatz, in which the first-person narrator tells about burying his deceased bride Alwine in the cold ground, then digging her up, and so on.
Until her flesh was completely
Transformed and runny.
Out. In. Out. I dug for many weeks.
And then thought, Oh, how it reeks.
And her nose had turned to blue juice
From which the threadworms peeked.
Beg pardon, but it was the deuce.
Then down went the slippery bones
And broke just as a million stones.
Anna Kalus´ film is simultaneously familiar and strange: sadly beautiful colors, no, not colors, but reminiscences of colors; sounds of nature (wind, birds, chirping), no, not sounds, but dreams of sounds; movement, no, not movement, but imaginary movements.
Leg bones dangling from the sky ... A sailor pulls the mask of decay from his bride´s face, and beneath it she is as beautiful as ever ... He and his lover ride through the air on a winged steed ... The moon, high in the sky, is plucked and eaten by one of the mourners ... The sea dog wades through the liquid into which his bride´s bones are melting, drop by drop. A photograph is taken to commemorate the event, but the bride´s soul will not permit itself to be captured, escapes and flutters to heaven - poetry in motion, a terribly beautiful bedtime story.
Translation: Steve Wilder