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“Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads” by Stephan Flint Muller

Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads

Berlin-based Stephan Flint Müller has made plenty of films in his young career, but my favorite remains his 2004 short Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads (or Fliegenpflicht für Quadratköpfe if you prefer the German). The film’s no-budget punk production style is teeming with creativity and humor, and with that comes the timeless lesson that effective visual ideas don’t require money, technology or huge crews, just imagination.

  • I think it’s good to see auteurs who tend to be content and confident with their creative low budget ways, creating more unique films with less mass appeal.With the increasing number of amateur filmmakers I think we will continue to see breakout artists that prove it is indeed possible to become successful while relying on their creativity. Does that mean that all high budget films are a waste of money – no – not in my opinion. Unfortunately to lure some of today’s most talented persons, one must have high budgets – but once again, there’s no shortage of films that have no star power. I also find it ironic that some of the films with the highest budgets become some the greatest disappointments.

  • Great to find this gem online, finally. I’ve seen it on several festivals in 2004, and it’s an immediate audience favourite. What’s so great about it is that he only shows his way to see, without any gimmicks or SFX. After seeing this it’s impossible to walk through Berlin without remembering the film all the time.

  • I went in doubtful but loved it.

    I suppose that would likely be impossible to do on a commercial level because of the cost of taking a crew out to all those locations and the hassle of getting clearances on all the trademarked and copyrighted items that appear.

    This dude, that Michel Gondry fellow, all those wonderful stop-motion-prone Czechs…their work jiggles with giggles, filling every frame with the joy that they themselves are finding in the creation of low-budget in-camera trickery. A delirious mind mixed with a dexterous brain…that’s the recipe for magical thinking, isn’t it? The look-at-me-Ma mindset that drives a filmmaker to toy with the audience’s expectations, emotions and eyeballs…what do the film theorists call this? What sort of sexual deviancy and/or deficiency did Sadsack Freud attribute this to? Dunno. Too lazy to Google it.
    I was watching Walt Disney’s Pinocchio yesterday, and was struck by a similarly (silly?) (sinister?) urge in that big budget bit of animated capitol-A Art — but with a difference: the filmmakers seem to be aiming their tricks at OTHER FILMMAKERS (and, undoubtedly unintentionally, the hundreds of thousands of cartoon geeks that would be birthed in its wake). Quick example: The scene where Jiminy Cricket opens the ‘Pinocchio’ book at the outset of the film. When he first turns the cover over, there is a candle in the foreground. For those of us “in the know”, our brains automatically register this as yet ANOTHER example of the studio’s justified pride in their multi-plain camera thingie. But wait! Not so fast! Just when you think you’ve go it all sussed out, Jiminy turns to the camera and turns the candle, using it to prop the book open! Small, insignificant and instantly forgettable to the healthy-minded, socially-adjusted viewer, those obsessed cartoon loons such as ourselves realize we’ve been duped. AND WE’RE THRILLED! Thankful, even!
    Again, dunno. Just sharing a bit of caffeinated clarity…albeit a bit clouded by my own lack of technical jargon and what-not. Cartoons are an unending source of happiness for me, and this site consistently introduces me to more of ’em., THANKS AMID AND JERRY!

  • Jay Sabicer

    I think Ernie Kovacs would have done something like this, if he were around. I wonder if Mr. Müller has seen any of the master’s work?

  • GhaleonQ

    Note to anyone put off: “punk” actually means “punk” here and not “amateurish and self-indulgent.” That was stellar.

  • Lol.. FUN stuff!!

    The bus riding thru the “hat-man” was the funniest.

  • ekuska

    so refreshing to just watch something and to be intrigued and entertained (and inspired). Thanks for posting!

  • Orson

    Story isn’t always everything. Entertainment counts for something.