Wool 100% (2006)
Seriously, have you heard of it? Then you're one of the few.
Two aging sisters hoarding junk in their rural mansion are disturbed to find a young girl compulsively knitting a wool sweater and refusing to leave their abode in Mai Tominiga's bizarre but interesting 2006 feature. Combining live action with animation, puppetry and anything else the Japanese filmmaker can seemingly get her hands on, Wool 100% is a difficult film to describe but a mostly fascinating one to watch.
This is a film that's challenging to digest and open to many interpretations regarding femininity, love, longing, abandonment and other issues but is perhaps not meant so much to be rationalized as much as felt. It's a different kind of "chick flick" - one directed by a women from a very feminine perspective that I suspect may connect more readily with the better sex, leaving some guys to wonder WTF is going on. With its dream-like presentation (and the narrative loopiness accompanying that choice) Tominiga offers a film that feels both safe and risky. Toys, puppetry and animation continue to feed the whimsical aspects but are also powerful tools in conveying the very dark and ugly passages of the two women's past lives. While there are still many questions to ask about what has gone on, the last half hour of the film largely solves the puzzles of the first sixty minutes - perhaps needlessly so, as my major criticism of the film is that the last ten minutes are unnecessarily drawn out.
The art direction is particularity striking and the five leads (the sisters are also portrayed as young girls by other actors) deliver the kind of performances needed. The pacing is uneven, dragging at times and not slowing down enough at others and the film does require a patience in viewing. Still, open-minded types will be rewarded by this sweeping cinematic experiment. Wool 100% is defiantly outside-the-box and not always comprehensible...but who cares? It's original in a highly impressive way. Definitely worth a look.