765. Mt. Head – Koji Yamamura

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SUMMARY: A stingy man who refuses to throw anything away decides to eat the stones from some cherries. As a result, a tree grows out of his head and becomes a popular spot for picnickers and blossom-watchers.

WHY IT’S HERE: Japanese animator Koji Yamamura’s ‘Mt. Head’ is an utterly strange and magically compelling short film about a man who is too stingy to even throw away cherries stones and, as a result, grows a tree out of his head. As the tree blossoms, his head becomes a popular spot for tourists and picnickers, so the man tears the tree out by its roots, leaving a gaping hole on top of his head. After a rain storm, this becomes a popular lake. Driven to distraction by his head’s new designation as a natural beauty spot, the man drowns himself in the lake in his own head. This surreal story is packed with brilliant ideas and talking points regarding mankind, nature and our own relationship to our psychological states and Yamamura’s animation is superbly comic and unsettlingly off-kilter. The grating narration, which is half-sung in a strangulated voice, just serves to make things seem even stranger but it is worth it for the hysterical deadpan switch to flat, cold narration for the blunt final line. ‘Mt. Head’ was nominated for an Oscar in the year of the great ‘Chubbchubbs!’ controversy and was another short which would have been a preferable choice to that lively, enjoyable but predictable animation.

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