Bunny and the Bull: Brits Traverse an Imaginary Europe

Even as the Michael Bays and James Camerons of this world push movies ever more seamlessly into digital effects, there's a growing countermovement to preserve—or at least suggest—the handmade aura of film. That's not to say that Michel Gondry and Jean-Pierre Jeunet don't occasionally resort to CG, but algorithm-generated perfection is never the goal. Nor is it for Paul King's dreamy picaresque across Europe, largely constructed from the old snapshots, menus, maps, and snow globes that chart a journey from England to Poland to Switzerland and Spain. The two Brits are brash Bunny (Simon Farnaby) and shy Stephen (Edward Hogg), from whose shut-in, hoarder/agoraphobic perspective their trip is recalled. A shoebox of photos becomes a train on cardboard tracks. The takeout container from the horrid Captain Crab restaurant—now with franchises in Eastern Europe!—becomes a diorama in which live-action actors complain about the food. Heaps of old newspapers in Stephen's house are transformed into a snowy Swiss highway underpass, where the two travelers encounter a tramp who guzzles milk from the teat of a lactating dachshund. After meeting a girl they both fancy (Verónica Echegui), they follow her home to Spain, where toreadors battle clockwork bulls. Realism isn't the point, and King—director of the cult English TV comedy series The Mighty Boosh—never takes his cast out of the studio. Rear-screen projection and school-pageant sets hint at Stephen's fragile state of mind, his desire to contain and recreate a vacation that wasn't ultimately so whimsical. Even if his illusion bursts in a predictable fashion, Bunny & the Bull is a unique and memorable trip.

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