A Response to Marc Craste’s Pica Towers
Marc Craste’s Pica Towers trilogy demonstrates good use of personification and chilling tension. Watching “The Good News” and “Hounds of Flesh”, I was struck by one human quality the robotic characters of the films lacked: human communication or identifiable language. The human qualities of these creatures are emphasized throughout the films. Features resembling eyes are shown in a close-up opening shot of The Good News before the shot pans out to show a robotic character. In Hound of Flesh another robotic character is featured walking a dog-like robotic character. This character demonstrates attributes of a blind human being.
The human characteristics of the characters in these three short films evoked empathy from me when they were put in violent or compromising situations. I like the tension that was created between the personification of the characters and their lack of human-like communication. This lack of verbal communication allowed the music and actions of the characters to be dominant, and I was kept guessing why the Pica Towers was a violent place. The point of tension reached its climax for me in Pizza Sangre. One of the robotic characters gets out of a vehicle, delivering a pizza. Slow, soothing, country-like music plays from the delivery truck, and the shot pans out showing the delivery man as miniscule in comparison to the vast, windy black and white background. This tranquil image is interrupted, however, when the delivery man is suddenly shot down from the tower.
The tension created between the cartoon-like robotic characters and the violence of the black and white short films is chilling. These films are well made, and I’m left wanting more from the story.