Have A Black & White Christmas
December 24, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

The Insects’ Christmas – Vladislav Starevich – 1913
In his surreal works, anthropomorphic insects often move around in a world like our own. They go to the movies, conduct secret love affairs, and, yes, even celebrate Christmas. Heartwarming or horrifying? I’ll let you be the judge.

Heartwarming OR horrifying? Why can't it be both?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:50 AM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

...aaand then Father Christmas walks past the creepy alive doll and then hangs himself from the Christmas tree. I guess that's why. :/
posted by sexyrobot at 11:27 AM on December 24, 2017

I found The Insect's Christmas years ago by doing a search for 'Christmas' on youtube. Those were the days!
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:43 AM on December 24, 2017

From the message in the last movie;

"Don't disappoint us, whatever you do."

Too close, that kinda hurts.
posted by bongo_x at 1:19 PM on December 24, 2017

George Albert Smith's 1898 Santa Claus is an early cinema favorite of mine since the inventiveness in it is so elegant. The maid turns down the gas light, dropping the (literal) curtain of night, where the iris insert of Santa appears. That's beautifully efficient storytelling and delightful to see.

Here's the link to Edwin S. Porter's The Night Before Christmas since the one in the article was a duplicate of the Alice Guy Blanche link.

Porter is, in my mind, still a bit underappreciated as a director rather than just a figure of historical importance to movies. So many of the early pioneers get overshadowed by Griffith that their contributions and abilities get lost since the early silent era is often avoided by even many cinephiles, which is unfortunate since there are some lovely works from that era.

Walter Booth is another who perhaps isn't as well known as he could be, even among those who care about movie history. He followed the path of Georges Melies and Segundo de Chomón early on in emphasizing the more fantastic elements the medium allowed, though Booth seemed to find more pleasure in combining the mundane and fantastic by creating vignettes where the two elements meet.

A favorite is The (?) Motorist, which he made with Robert Paul in 1906 and then made a more fanciful and elaborate variation on the idea in 1911 with The Automatic Motorist which is also a lot of fun. Though neither has anything much to do with Christmas.

As a more Xmassy offering, here's more comedic take on the holiday from Italy, Andre Deed's 1910 short: Come fu che l'ingordigia rovinò il Natale a Cretinetti /Greediness Spoiled Foolshead's Christmas in which our hero Cretinetti learns there can be real hell to pay for being a selfish jerk at Christmas.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:27 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

"I thought that Christmas Train was going to come off the screen and hit me!" -Pete Travers Sr., GRIT
posted by drezdn at 5:40 PM on December 24, 2017

Wow, The Insects’ Christmas is fantastic. How have I never heard of Vladislav Starevich before? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
posted by eotvos at 10:27 AM on December 25, 2017

« Older moments of majesty and resonance   |   Wiggle He Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments