The humdrum daily routine of a tram conductress is jolted when the vibrations and rhythm of the road turn her on and take her on an erotic and surrealistic fantasy journey.
Congratulations on your film "Tram" being selected for the Animated Shorts Program at Sundance this year! "Tram" is part of something called "Sexperiences" -- can you talk about what that is and why you decided to do it?
Sexperiencies is a project for a feature film, consisting from animated shorts made by woman, describing women sexual fantasies. It is an idea of Sandra Schulze and producer Ron Dyens (both are French - yes, just French have these crazy ideas!) It was a challenge for me to participate because it is kind of controversial, provocative theme which I like. Sex is a very decent, serious theme (similar to death) and the only way how I could deal with it was to make fun of it.
Some people enjoy my film, another feel uncomfortable watching it, but that's the risk. With portraying sex – people have always different opinions what is decent and what is not. I can also feel embarrassed watching films where sex is beyond what is my level of accepting it.
Here, in Czech Republic, Tram is shown in the distribution together with a Danish film Den skaldede frisør (Love is all you need) from Susanne Bier. I have received two emails questioning my psychic health and two local cinemas refused to show Susanne's film because of Tram. First I felt bit of sad but then I realized that it was my intention – to provoke, to shake audience's chair!
For myself, Tram is not so much about sex but about joy. And fun. Funny rhytmical joy.
What are your thoughts on the state of cinematic portrayals of women's sexuality and women's sexual fantasies today? And does animation allow you a certain level of freedom that live action might not?
I suppose women always has sexual fantasies, just today you can speak about it and show it more freely, more openly. Animation is a great tool, you can be more daring, go further. By using animation you are somehow excused. As if you say: don't take it so seriously, it is abstract, there are only the drawings, only the lines on the paper, it is not a real life.
Michaela's film screens as part of the Animation Spotlight on January 26 in Park City. Read more about her film and see the screening schedule in the Sundance Festival Program.
Michaela Pavlátová is a director and animator from Czech Republic. She came to international prominence in 1991 when her short animation film Words, Words, Words was nominated for a U.S. Academy Award. In 1995, Repete won a Golden Bear at the Berlinale, Tram recieved the Annecy Cristal in 2012. She also directed two live-action feature films, Faithless Games, (Special Jury Mention in the New Director's Prize competition at San Sebastian IFF) and Night Owls (Best Actor and a Best Actress at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2008). She lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic.