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Shark in the Head (DVD Review)

22 Feb, 2009 By: Angelique Flores

Prebook 2/25/09; Street 3/25/09
$24.99 DVD
Not rated.
In Czech with English subtitles.
Stars Oldrich Kaiser, Jana Krausova, David Maj, Kristyna Leichtova.

There’s no plot. The pacing is slow, like many European arthouse films. Most of the characters aren’t named, and there’s little information about them anyway. And yet, my eyes were glued to the screen while watching Shark in the Head.

Mr. Seman is an elderly, schizophrenic man who lives alone, spending his days sitting at his window interacting with the neighbors, watching TV and making things out of garbage.

While the interactions between the old man and most people are simple and superficial, they are somehow still tender and sweet. Even though we learn nearly nothing about the man, just watching him live and seeing his creativity and thoughtfulness makes you like him.

He’s friendly and pleasant, and his hallucinations are harmless. He sees things such as a party going on in the street, or newspaper pictures and illustrations coming to life.

These visions are depicted artistically using stop-motion and graphic animation to give audiences a clear, vibrant idea of what Mr. Seman sees.

Anyone who has dealt with someone mentally ill may relate to the film, though it paints schizophrenia in a somewhat rosy manner. Unrealistically, Mr. Seman seems both aware and accepting of his mental illness.

Don’t expect a detailed character study here. Just enjoy the ride for what it is.

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