“Rabbit blood”. An unusual habit of tea drinking, in a bittersweet Turkish animation

The habit of drinking tea is distinctive for Turkish hospitality and their value system. Tea has a special place in the daily life of Turkish people and various ways of being brewed. Directed by Yagmur Altan, who was inspired by an old Turkish expression related to tea drinking, Rabbit blood (2016) unveils its story charmingly and memorably.

In a lofty country house, a Turkish man is served as usual with a deep reddish tea. Satisfied, he keeps caressing his moustache, while his servant is taking care of preparing more tea. What upstairs is just an ordinary peaceful day, in the lower levels of the house seems to happen another strange, mysterious event.

Even than Rabbit blood is Yagmur Altan’s first film, his graduation project at SVA, the animation is still on screens, receiving positive acclaims and awards (according to Antalya Cinema Guild, Rabbit Blood is one of the best ten Turkish animated shorts of all time). Watching Rabbit blood, you may feel the desire to dance, tempted by irresistible music composed by Mehmet Aydin but you may cry, in the same time, moved by the expressive faces of animated characters.

Usually, “Tavşan Kanı” (literally meaning, rabbit blood) is a way of expressing pleasure of drinking a well-prepared red colored tea for Turkish people. Nevertheless, Yagmur Altan, through his dark comedy, revives this old saying, opening new meanings and worlds for our imagination.

Less than 5 minutes length, this tender bitter animation arises so many questions and suppositions tickling your mind. Is it about a cultural habit and the shadow of Ottoman Empery in everyday Turkish life? Is it about kindness and cruelty in an odd imaginary world? Is it about past or about present? What is for sure is that Yagmur Altan’s animation depicts skillfully an authentic piece of the Turkish soul.

Rabbit Blood Still 001

 author: Teia Brînză


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