Insect intrigue - holidays and indiscretions
December 22, 2006 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The Insects' Christmas - a 1913 Russian stop-motion film about a Father Christmas ornament come to life who rounds up the insects of the forest and Mr. Frog to celebrate the holiday. This film by Ladislaw Starewicz who also produced The Cameraman's Revenge, a wonderful stop-motion film of of insect infidelity. More on the incredible Ladislaw Starewicz and his films. (warning: insect sex and violence)
posted by madamjujujive (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Also see this great prior metafilter thread on stop motion animation posted by curnchland. It includes more on Starewicz and other vintage stop-motion clips.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:38 AM on December 22, 2006

that would be crunchland.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:39 AM on December 22, 2006

1913?? This is fantastic. I'm in love with that dinky Charlie Brown tree he makes and decorates by waving his wandcane a few times.

(the frog is so creepy...I love it)
posted by iconomy at 10:49 AM on December 22, 2006

The forest backdrop when Father Christmas invites Mrs. Dragonfly is astounding.
posted by NationalKato at 10:59 AM on December 22, 2006

warning: insect sex and violence

posted by caddis at 11:06 AM on December 22, 2006

Won't someone please think of the childrenlarvae!!! ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:10 AM on December 22, 2006

I keep expecting Norelco Santa TM to bust out in this video. TV has ruined my life.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 11:15 AM on December 22, 2006

Now i know it's true. Everything has been done before. And everything has been done better. Damn!

These are some fine animations.
posted by algreer at 12:02 PM on December 22, 2006

One dark night I happened upon a showing of The Devil's Ball aka The Mascot, and I was totally transfixed. I couldn't believe how bizarre and wonderful it was. Makes me wish I'd thought to ask Santa for this.

Thanks, and also for the links to previous posts.
posted by tula at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2006

This is incredible.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2006

Wow, that Ladislaw Starewicz had such an unusual imagination. What a delightful post mjjj, as ever. The world is an amazing place. Russians seem to think/have expressed their vision of life in such unpredictable complexity and interesting detail. Their art almost always surprises me. Could he have used real insects? But if he did how could he have made tiny bicycles and shopwindows to match?

The Christmas one is surrealistic, mysterious, all in blue. I like the naughty bugs one. What a story! Funny...and wierd, all the way to the end. Charming. Aww that tarty demoiselle dragonfly! I love the miniature grasshopper artist studio.

Caddis' post on risqué cartoons of yore was an eye opener. (NSFW).
posted by nickyskye at 1:51 PM on December 22, 2006

Way good stuff! Very creepy and wonderful.

Thanks for the post.
posted by elendil71 at 1:57 PM on December 22, 2006

Now i know it's true. Everything has been done before. And everything has been done better. Damn!

I second this sentiment.

One thing I've noticed is that when a new medium is introduced (books, films, computer games, etc) it triggers an immediate explosion of creativity and originality which is rarely rivaled in later times.
posted by vacapinta at 2:24 PM on December 22, 2006

Wonderful! I've been reading about prerevolutionary Russia, and these little films give me a better idea of what cabarets, movie projection, and home life were like than a thousand words. (Incidentally, the name of the film-within-the-film in The Cameraman's Revenge was Neverny Muzh, 'The Unfaithful Husband,' and like the outside film it was a Khanzhonkov production—Aleksandr Khanzhonkov had the best movie studio in Moscow, including a literature section headed by critic/playwright Nikolai Turkin, and organized a company of actors, a major step towards professionalizing the cinema—his trademark was the winged horse Pegasus, which you see at the end of Neverny Muzh.) Ladislaw Starewicz, known to Russians as Vladislav Aleksandrovich Starevich, was a Lithuanian Pole (like Czeslaw Milosz), and I've seen online sources claiming he was born in Kaunas, Vilnius, and Moscow. Anyway, he made great movies, and I thank you for the post, mjjj!
posted by languagehat at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2006

The Starewicz DVD is awesome- I've floored people by showing them the animations before telling them how old they are.
posted by BoringPostcards at 3:39 PM on December 22, 2006

I'm so glad someone else brought up The Devil's Ball (wish that clip had the original audio track -and yes, there is audio appiled to that short) it's one of my favorite obscure animated short films.

Excellent post.
posted by squidfartz at 5:19 PM on December 22, 2006

That was sweet. Best of the month? Easily. You are a goddess madam!!!!!!!!
posted by caddis at 6:19 PM on December 22, 2006

Adorable. Another great post! Thanks, juju.

the insects of the forest and Mr. Frog

I wonder if this had any small influence on Pan's Labyrinth.
posted by homunculus at 8:40 PM on December 22, 2006

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