The Stain

The Stain01

Triggered by an actual news item about suicidal octogenarian twins, THE STAIN is a dark, domestic thriller which uses a variety of animation styles to spin a claustrophobic web of incest and intrigue …


DVD available. Desire & Sexuality: Animating the Unconscious Vol 1

11 mins, 16mm, 1991


Narration: Chrisse Roberts

Words by: Harriett Gilbert

Research Consultant: Julia Vellacott

Design: Christine Roche

Animation: Marjut Rimminen

Additional Animation: Jeff Goldner, Heini Kauppinen

Assistant Animators: Gail Walton, Shelley McIntosh,

Isabel Radage

Painting: Sarash Strickett, Sam Padget

Checking: Debra Thaine

Set Construction/Electrician: Dick Arnall

Silversmith: Pierre Marchand

Rostrum Camera: Heather Reader

Lighting & Camera: Cathy Greenhalgh

Editing & Sound:

Tony Fish, Peter Hearn @ Picturehead Productions

Dubbing Mixer: Ian Sewyn @ Studio Sound

Music: Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Moore, Giuseppe Verdi, Robert Schumann

Thanks to: Three Peach, Andy Daley, Michael Muller, Jim Ensom, Chris Opperman

Producer: Orly Yadin

A Smoothcloud Production for Channel Four Television

Distribution: Yadin Productions Productions Ltd


SPECIAL JUTY PRIZE at the 1992 Hiroshima International Animation Festival

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE at the 1992 San Francisco International Film Frstival

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“A deep frustration and hatred concealed beneath the surface of family life. Marjut Rimminen and Christine Roche wove this dark story out of a small enigmatic newspaper cutting. The narrative fills in an imagined back-story of incest, family violence and secrets, using a well-designed mixture of drawing and model animation. The Stain (1991) imbues a small-scale domestic narrative with tempestuous psychological forces. This sort of exposure of the dark underbelly of family life is a potent and distinctive feature of women’s animation, which developed in contrast to British animation’s prevailing culture of gags and action and its focus on technical innovation, and has influenced and enriched the medium as a whole. Christine Roche has had a career in education and illustration. Marjut Rimminen has gone on to develop as a film-maker. Her film Many Happy Returns (1997) takes the psycho-biographical family exposé further, making effective use of digitally-processed live-action and model animation.” Ruth Lingford/BFI screenonline

“… an examination of incest and sex abuse within the nuclear family. In the Gothic nursery-rhyme atmosphere where keeping the house clean means shoving the dirty dishes into drawers already bulging with dirty dishes, the suffocation is acute. Bright toytown colours emphasise the shiny deception and jolly cover-ups of what Daddy likes to call a game … The Freudian ability of animators deftly to display the motives behind the mask is one of the great strengths of the form. Animation can handle difficult delicate topics with extraordinary lightness and perception.” Jeanette Winterson, Sight & Sound.

“Rather more accessible as a movie is Marjut Rimminen and Christine Roche’s The Stain, an imaginative animated fable about the benefits of family life: envy, incest, murder. With all the sinister simplicity of a tale by Edward Gorey, it is exactly the sort of thing that distributors should be picking up as support for their new features.” Time Out.

“It’s rare to meet someone who’s seen THE STAIN who hasn’t been, quite simply, knocked out by it. … It is also difficult to describe. This is precisely because its use of animation to convey complex ideas through visual images and movement makes any synopsis somewhat misleading. It’s worth stressing the roller-coaster energy and tight construction, brilliant editing, unusual camera angles and exhilarating musical score which all drive the narrative along.” Women & Animation, ed. Jayne Pilling, British Film Institute.

“The aesthetics of tragedy. With SOME PROTECTION and I’M NOT A FEMINIST, BUT… Marjut Rimminen already demonstrated that she is not afraid to deal with serous subject matters. In her latest film THE STAIN she takes this even a few steps further, reconstucting absurd murder within family with hints of childabuse and perhaps even incest. Visually THE STAIN is also very complex and disturbing. Together with Christine Roche, Marjut Rimminen made a film not an easy to comprehend, but surely one you will never forget. An unusual theme apparently inspired them to combine for the first time many different techniques. Edwin Carels, Annecy 93 leQuotidien.

“Channel 4 in the commissioning and broadcasting of new independent work have prompted the emergence of highly talented female animators. The Leed’s Animation Collective (Out to Lunch, 1989), Joanna Quinn (Girl’s Night Out, 1986) Candy Guard (Fatty Issues, 1990), Erica Russell (Triangle, 1994), Marjut Rimminen (The Stain) 1991) and Ruth Lingford (Death and the Mother, 1996) have created a distinctly ‘feminine aesthetic’ which has challenged dominant orthodoxies not merely in British animation but in the form per se.

The fresh approach has been achieved, first, by using the craft-orientation and auteurist scope in animation to reconfigure the practice of filmmaking itself, and, second, by redefining aspects of representation, particularly in regard to the depiction of the body and issues about gender politics and social identity. FILM – The Critics Choice, (‘Art of the Iimpossible’ by Paul Wells, 150 masterpieces of world cinema selected and defiened by the experts.)

The Stain “ Myös ‘helmiä ‘ jäi palkitsematta. Marjut Rimmisen ja Christine Rochen Englannissa valmistama TAHRA on hallittuna animaationa toteutettu viiltävä psykodraama perhehelvetistä.”  Tarmo Poussu, Ilta Sanomat 9.3.1992.

“Parhaat tekijät ovat löytäneet tyyleilleen ja aiheilleen sopivat rakoset. Animaatio näyttää pystyvän tehokkaasti houkuttelemaan katsojia kertomalla asioista, jotka eivät joko helposti taivu näytellyn elokuvan aiheeksi tai joita ei sellaisina niellä. … STAIN’in tarina kertoo lapsen hylkäämisestä, insestistä ja muista olohuoneen virtahevoista. … Elokuvan rohkeudessa nostaa perheen ongelmat esiin on optimismin siemen. ” Petri Kemppisen raportti Annecyn elokuvajuhlilta, Helsingin Sanomat 8.7.1993.

The film is available as British Animation Awards compilation DVD “Desire & Sexuality/Animating the Unconscious”, Vol 1.

The film has a mention in Clare Kitson’s book published by Parliament Hill Publishing

“British animation: The Channel 4 factor”