Struggling on deciding what his next film should be, Kaspar decides to make a movie about himself, his work and the people in his life. It seemed like a great idea -- a concept that would allow him to explore and display the different areas that he's interested in. Having himself be the subject for his own movie causes Kaspar to reflect on his life more than he had planned and has him go further into his own mind than what may be good for him.
A review for "Krokodyle" has long been over due considering that it made my Best of 2011 list. The movie is actually one of those rare happy accidents -- while most reviewers and general movie aficionados would have you believe that they know everything that there is to know about movies, because they've been around the block. Truth be told all of us find movies through various means, and more often than not, we simply stumble across a title. "Krokodyle" is Stefano Bessoni's third movie but I had no idea who he was or what his movies were until I came across the trailer for "Krokodyle". Which I only found because a website recommend the trailer based on previously viewed videos -- most "critics" (I don't consider myself one) would never admit that, but I willing to confess my short comings, dammit! (That fact may cause me to lose what little credibility I have but it's better than typing up a bunch of bullshit on how I knew about the movie.)
Having never seen any of Stefano Bessoni's previous movies and not having any real idea what "Krokodyle" was about (due to most information on the movie being in Italian only), I found the trailer so fascinating I had to get my hands on a copy. Smash cut to a couple months later I finally received a copy, to my surprise, the movie I received was nothing what I imagined that it would be.
"Krokodyle" is about Kaspar Toporski; a young artist, illustrator and filmmaker who has begun working on a new project. Not sure on what to make his next movie about he decides to make it about himself and the world he lives in. It starts off as a simple enough project but it isn't long before Kaspar starts to become lost in his own imagination, particularly when he starts toying around with alchemy in attempt to create a homunculus.
By the trailer I was expecting a Jan Svankmajer inspired arthouse horror movie also because of the stop-motion used and that Stefano's two previous movies were horror. Instead "Krokodyle" is, to simply put it, a fairytale for adults. It's a hard movie to explain without giving away the entirety of the plot but what the movie essentially boils down to is a character's refusal to "grow up" and stay in his own imagination. Not nearly as pretentious as it sounds, the movie's protagonist spends his time trying to do and understand what is expected of him as an artist and as a (young) adult, even though he wants nothing more than to live life as how he sees it. Something I think all of us can appreciate on some level.
That's the general theme and the point that the movie looks to make but the actual movie itself is a very interesting mixture of different narrative modes used to tell the story of Kaspar Toporski. "Krokodyle" starts off in as a first-person narrative with the character Theophilus telling an unseen person about Kaspar and the last movie he made. Through there we switch into the traditional movie narrative, as expected, but then as Kaspar decides to make his latest film about himself, it then becomes more of a mockumentary while still bouncing between a standard movie and Theo's narration. If you familiarize yourself with director Stefano's work you begin to see that "Krokodyle" isn't simply using the mockumentary style, but it is semi-autobiographical for the actual director.
It allows the movie to carry more weight since it manages to blur the lines between reality and fiction. As you're watching "Krokodyle" it's easy for Kaspar Toporski to seem and feel like a real character and you begin to believe that "Krokodyle" is his movie, it is his life, or rather Stefano's life. For what is essentially a fantasy movie, it's pretty remarkable to feel like you're watching someone's home movie even with the traditional movie scenes. It creates an oddly grounding ability while still being fantastical, particularly the moments where Kaspar is going through a alchemist ritual to create life and possibly succeeds.
"Krokodyle" probably doesn't sound like an interesting movie for people who are looking for extreme or ultra-bizarre titles but that's one of the things that I found more enjoyable about the movie. It's a fantasy movie without being too far gone (i.e. Guillermo del Toro, Terry Gilliam, etc.) but still felt like something real while also remaining as a simple movie. It's rather nice to go from all these movies, big and small, that become sensory overloads to a title that is looking to be nothing but sincere with a bit of creativity. It is a simple movie but it offers quite a bit if you're willing to enjoy some light hearted weirdness.