Die reine Notwendigkeit
What if animals stopped behaving like humans? And music was banned from the soundtrack? A non-narrative revisiting of the Disney classic, Jungle Book. To make his own version, the artist painstakingly redrew the frames of the original by hand, one by one, to create a familiar, yet entirely new experience.
This emulation of the animated movie classic Jungle Book abandons all singing, dancing and silly humour to render the animals back their natural dignity. The frames of Wolfgang Reitherman’s 1967 original are redrawn with great precision and devotion, only to end up with a completely eventless narrative. Devoid of all 'humanized' activity, the animals now simply behave in a manner befitting their species. The biggest intervention, however, is the erasure of the protagonist.
Claerbout is obviously addressing our personal memory of the film. Or does he want to reawaken our collective memory as fellow mammals? Or direct our attention towards the human drive to make things happen? In the end, he does retain a few faint echoes of the lively original. The title, of course, still refers to the song that made Baloo famous. And in the finale, mankind is integrated into this natural habitat after all, when a young girl comes to the edge of the jungle to fetch water.