Granny’s Dancing on the Table is written and directed by the Swedish filmmaker Hanna Sköld who premieres with her first feature film. The film is a low-budget and mainly funded by crowd-funding.
The film is about a young girl, Eini who grows up isolated from the rest of the world in a big and dark forest in Småland, together with her shy, manipulative and abusive father. As a mental get-away, Eini daydreams about her grandmother, the only one who has escaped the dark forest and uses her grandmother’s story to gain personal strength in order to survive and eventually to escape.
The world is a dangerous place mentions Einis father. In the small house in the big forest Eini and her father live an everyday life, in which they read books, they cook, they clean and they discuss the world. However, the father never takes Eini anywhere, he forces her to know everything about the world and to study. Furthermore, she needs to clean, to cook and become the perfect lady of the house. The father mentions to her that these things are important because she has to take care of him for the rest of his life.
Every now and then she daydreams about her grandmother´s story and wishes to escape the house, the forest and her father. This particular daydreaming is portrayed by animation that illustrates the entire family story.
The intention with daydreaming portrayed by animation is beautiful, but it does not work successfully in this picture. The idea of a harsh cold reality versus a beautiful escape of lively images is not fulfilled and therefore the film becomes more dark, painful and hurting for an audience to follow. Since the animation is not lively and beautiful, it’s equally as cold and hard as the real images which will make the audience believe there is no hope for the main character. Maybe she can escape, maybe her grandmother did escape – but for what? Another grim reality.
This film was no pleasure to watch. The animation was unpleasant and unnecessary for the film, which is an expensive way to try to hide the fact that the storyline was inadequate. The director mentions at the Q&A in Lübeck that she got the inspiration from her own life. She grew up in the middle of nowhere herself with an abusive father. “Write about what you know” is what Hannah did, but it seems that she had unsolved issues with her father in real life. This affects the film to have an unsolved character-relationship as well.
This could have been a great short-film without the animation, but on feature-length level, it lacks a true hero’s journey, substance and a better implantation of nature and action.