THE THROWN AWAY BOOK
A small antique shop in the old town. An older lady, the owner of this shop full of historical artifacts, has just opened, when the bell rings on the door. A man, Levi, with his little son Toni come in. They came to sell a few old things: a pocket watch, a knife, a game cabinet, and more. The lady shop owner looks through every object with an expert eye, while the boy curiously admires all the fantastic objects displaced on the shelves of this peculiar shop. The lady then gives Levi a coin from the cashier. Now on the street, Levi and Toni go from one dumbbell to another and dig out boxes full of things that people throw away.
They are not rich, and they need to repair the old things to sell them, so that they can buy food and make a living out of it. Sometimes they pull a broken toy or even a gramophone. In one scum, the boy finds a huge old book. It is missing its cover and the pages are all torn, loosely falling out. The father is hesitant to take it, saying it is beyond repair, but the boy is intrigued and wants to give it a try. The father doesn’t want to hear about it and leaves. When Toni sees that father is not looking, he puts the book and all the loose pages in his little bag. Their apartment in an old building is large and fully furnished, but still looks a bit empty. It is obvious that a woman’s hand has not touched this house since a long time, a large part of it is actually covered with white sheets, unused. The main pieces of furniture are two work desks side by side at the window. One is large, the other one smaller, adapted to the little boy’s size.
There are a lot of tools, magnifiers, pliers, screws, strings and gears of all sizes on the tables. Both father and son work on their repairs. The boy focuses on the book. The father disagrees, but let’s Toni play. It turns out to be a cut out pop up children book. However, nothing works properly, the 3D objects do not open, everything is broken and crumpled. He picks up the loose pieces and starts putting them back in the book where they belong. It is deep night now. The warm light of street lamps dimly illuminates the apartment, where only the working lamps on the desks light the interior.
There is now a closed book lying in front of Toni. It has a new leather case, looks like new. The boy gently strokes the book and looks at his father. He is proud of the work he has done. The father has a look at it. He is very proud of his son too. He invites him to open it. In front of them opens a beautiful landscape of a 3D world, with forests in the foreground and a city in the background. In the countryside, there are a few characters, riding bicycles or playing hide and seek. Levi checks that everything holds like it should. He actions the paper tongues on the side of the book that put the characters in motion. Two characters, a woman and a little boy in yellow raincoats stand out in the countryside.
The boy looks at it with great surprise. They turn the page. The story of the book has now moved to the city. We see the streets of the brick residential houses and the chimneys of the factory in the background. When they action the paper tongues, the two figures in yellow coats from the previous side come out from behind the corner. The boy, seeing the two characters, looks nervous. His father notices it. They recognize the familiar old antique shop. When they turn the page once again, they discover their own street. There are also other figures, but now, it’s as if they were moving from their own will, as if they had their own lives. The boy jumps to his feet and steps away from the table, scared, seeking comfort in his father’s sad eyes. He looks away towards the entrance hall, where we see two yellow raincoats hanging.
Exactly the same as the boy and his mom wear in the book. He looks back to his father, who encourages him to turn the page. So he does. On the small street, the boy and the woman in yellow raincoats walk towards one of the houses, the boy cheerfully jumping over puddles on the sidewalk, finally approaching the entrance to the house where Levi and his son live. Now we can see clearly, that the little boy in the book is Levi’s son. The two characters enter the building. They now look through the little windows inside what seems to be their own apartment. It’s full of life, bright with light, no traces of white clothes covering the furniture. The entrance opens and the little boy runs to greet his father, Levi, who stands up from his tiny paper desk, where he was concentrating on his reparations.
The mother also comes towards them and they all hug. There are tears running down both Levi’s and his son’s cheeks. Levi dries his tears and then wipes away the tears of his son. He takes him gently in his arms and brings him closer. Now Toni turns back to the book and puts his head closer to the little paper house. From inside, we see his huge face and eye peeking through the window. In front stands the silhouette of his mother. She opens the window and stretches the hand towards him. She has a gentle smile on her face. Toni stretches his little finger, very gently, not to hurt his little paper mother, and he touches her hand.
The mother gives him one more big smile, then steps back and pulls the curtains and disappears. The boy stands up, dries his tears and looks around the apartment. He runs to the closest piece of furniture and takes down the white cloth, discovering a sofa. He moves to the next one discovering a lamp and lights it. He puts other lights on, suddenly making the whole apartment brighter. Levi now helps his son, they run around the house together and tear down all the white clothes covering the furniture. The last piece they uncover is a photograph in a frame hanging on the wall.
On the picture, it is them and the mom. They look at each other and smile. From now on, they will not cover their things anymore. The next morning in the antique shop. The lady owner is half asleep. The bell on the door wakes her up. But there is no one. She comes out of the shop, and sees the silhouette of Levi and his son, merrily jumping over paddles wearing his yellow raincoat, as they disappear behind the corner. She comes back to her counter and discovers the old book. She looks with interest on the cover and slowly opens it. On the first page, there is a landscape with a small house on the hill, a whole different scene than before.
The woman’s eyes fill with tears, as if she knew something about that place, like an old memory that was forgotten and now came back to her. With impatience, she turns to the next page.
| FILM CREDITS
Director – Agata Gorządek
Based on a story of – Arnošt Goldflam
Music – Aliaksandr Yasinski
Puppets maker – Patricia Ortiz Martinez
Producer – WJTeam (Wojtek Leszczyński, PL)
Co-producer – MAUR film (Martin Vandas, CZ)
Length – 18 min.
Animation technique – puppet stop-motion and cut-out
Release – 2022
The film was supported by Czech Film Fund and Polish Film Institute.
| ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
About the director
Agata Gorządek is a film director, art director and animator. She graduated Polish Na- tional Film School – Animation Department, in 2011 with a movie The Diver (Nurek). After graduation she worked on numerous stop motion movies as a second director and art director, and as an animator in 2D drawing productions. She has been working with Se-Ma-For Production, Breakthru Films, Animoon, Animapol, Trefl Film Studio, WJTeam & Likaon. Currently she´s working as a tutor in Polish National Film School and in Fine Art Academy in Łódź, teaching stop-motion animation, set and props building and storytelling.