SUMMARY: An expectant couple arrive in a land they hope will be a utopia but which turns out to be an oppressive dictatorship where residents are forced to wear plungers on their heads.
WHY IT’S HERE: Michelle and Uri Kranot’s ‘Hollow Land’ is a strange, funny and ultimately haunting film in which a man and his pregnant wife go in search of a new home in which to raise their family and are duped into becoming citizens of a dystopian land that is constantly patrolled by searchlights and where you have to constantly wear a bathroom plunger on your head. Consigned to a dirty, cramped apartment which looks like a ship’s boiler room, the couple struggle to make it their own but the continued interference of their new society makes them uncomfortable at best and terrified at worst. With its ugly, lumbering characters and dank, dirty setting, ‘Hollow Land’ is a downbeat experience but it is also a brilliant one, examining the eternal human search for a home in which our expectations are rarely met. The great stop-motion also incorporates a hand-drawn dream sequence which adds the film’s rich aesthetic but the real victory is the diversity of moods the Kranot’s achieve. Although absurdism is prominent, there is also a looming sense of dread and one scene in particular, in which the state carries out a forced inspection on the couple’s premises and the wife’s stage of pregnancy, is genuinely disturbing, the shallow breathing of the distressed wife after the men finally leave proving almost unbearably realistic.