Blood of the Family Tree is an experimental piece of animation; they’ll tell you it’s told in 14 instalments, though in fact it flows quite nicely from one vignette to the next. After all, they’re all part of the same story, and that story’s protagonist is blood.
Blood is a mother’s first gift to her baby; it carries life, of course, and her love, and sometimes more besides, hereditary traits and markers for future illness, for example. The narrative, if you can call it that, is as fluid as blood itself, coursing through memory and history, forging familial bonds, and carrying intergenerational trauma.
The film, which feels more like a meditation, is simple but beautiful, reflecting but not dwelling on the relationships between women, strong and beautiful bodies, the acknowledgement of yesterday’s pain. Bodies are trees are nearly interchangeable, a jumble of lines either a root system or a nervous system, or neither, or both. History and wisdom passed through the veins, intimate story-telling and secrets stored in the body.
Director/animator Christine Panushka expresses our inheritance with mesmeric hand-painted animation that looks and feels like poetry. No ordinary movie, Blood of the Family Tree inspires you to look inward and find the pulse of your own story.
Blood of the Family Tree is an official selection of the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2021.