This very short film is based on the contents of P. Oxy 5189, a fragment of a 6th c. CE Greek mime that was preserved on papyrus and discovered in the town of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.
This animation was conceived of and produced as part of a project entitled “Broken Scenes: Resurrecting Ancient Fragmented Voices Through Animation” that was sponsored by the University of Oxford Department of Papyrology. The aim was to explore animation as medium that can help scholars “reconstruct ancient popular performances, as a way of re-inventing the text for further study or teaching.” A fuller account of the project’s origins and aims can be found here: http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/trashyhumour/
Episode 87A, released on 05/31/1978, 11 min.; English dub
In this Japanese series also known as ‘Manga Sekai Mukashibanashi’ (produced from 1976 to 1979), each episode depicts a famous fairy tale from all around the world. The Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses is the source for this tragic tale of transformation.
The series was released under many names in English, including “Tales of Magic,” “Merlin’s Cave” and “Wonderful, Wonderful Tales From Around the World.”
9 min.; Belgium; director: Raoul Servais; no dialog
Winner of the 1979 Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival
In this unsettling black comedy that verges on horror, a man on an evening stroll encounters a harpy and “rescues” it from an assault. He then takes it home with him where it begins to torment him by eating all of his food and eventually by eating his legs. After a near escape, the Harpy finds the man and assaults him, only to be “rescued” again by a policeman who intervenes.
Servais on this film: “Harpya was my first attempt to combine live action images with animation. The live actors had to be incorporated in graphical backgrounds, for which I had to invent my own technique at the time. The result was rather satisfying, but very time consuming, because it really was limited to a one person’s job. I guess Harpya will remain the only film ever made in this technique.”
This Terry Toon short was inspired by Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes,” and is a sequel of sorts to 1950’s “Aesop’s Fable: Foiling the Fox.” Watch as the trickster Dingbat entices Foxy Fox to read the fable, which says the fox tried “in vain” to get the grapes. This fires up the Fox and several classic hilarious gags ensue as he tries and fails to retrieve the grapes that Dingbat has nailed to the top of a tree. Unlike in the fable, he is successful at getting them in the end, only to find that the grapes are sour.
Germany; 11 min; director/writer: Daniel Nocke; Studio FILM BILDER
From the Studio FILM BILDER site: “Is the present-day Cyclops a dangerous monster or a sensitive artist? A group of German tourists express a variety of opinions. Mr. and Mrs. Petersen decide to find out for themselves, and experience a few surprises.”
Awards: Silver Prize in Animation, Expo Film and Video Shorts, New York, 2003 First Prize of the Jury, Film Festival Landshut, 2003 Second prize for short film, exground, Wiesbaden, 2003 Best animated film of the national competition, Filmfest Dresden, 2002 Third prize, Cinema Concetta, Ruesselsheim, 2002 Best short film, Filmfest Schwerin, 2002 First prize, category 5-10 min, Krok Festival, Moscow / St. Petersburg, 2015 Special Jury Mention, Countryside Animafest Cyprus, 2015 Special Mention, Animafest Zagreb, Croatia, 2015 Special Mention, Monstra, Lisboa, Portugal, 2015 “Short Tiger”, Filmförderungsanstalt Berlin, 2015
The Sesame Street characters get locked inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art overnight while looking for Big Bird in this one-hour special. The narrative centers on an Egyptian prince named Sahu whom Big Bird and Snuffy meet in the Egyptian art exhibit. He seeks to be reunited with his parents in the form of a star but cannot answer the question posed to him each night by a demon: “Where does today meet yesterday?”
After discovering the answer is “a museum,” Sahu summons Osiris and undergoes the “weighing of the heart ” ceremony of the deceased (see second video). His heart is too heavy, but Big Bird intervenes, and Sahu is reunited with his parents as stars in the sky.
In the midst of this narrative the other characters explore the many exhibits of the museum. Oscar the Grouch discovers a gallery of Greek and Roman statues in their broken and fragmentary state. He sings “Broken and Beautiful” as a celebration of their beauty — the most beautiful trash he’s ever seen — and their value to him.
17 min.; Russia; dir. Vasily Livanov; produced by Soyuzmultfilm
The Greek myth of Phaeton is the basis for this atmospheric short about the structure of the solar system, which features a variety of animation styles. The subject matter melds the realms of science and myth, and reflects both the prominence and ambition of the Soviet space program during this period.
Cosmonauts are sent on a spaceship called “Phaeton 1” to explore the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The mission is based on the hypothesis that the belt originated from fragments of a deceased planet. An interlude explaining why the spaceship has this name retells the story of Phaeton and his doomed chariot ride with vivid images and music. It is suggested that the myth is “poetic evidence of an actual occurrence: the destruction of the planet Phaeton as a result of space catastrophe.”
The broader idea is then introduced that connections between ancient events and artefacts and contain the mystery of contact between Earth and other worlds. After the cosmonauts arrive at the asteroid belt, the question of how the planet Phaeton might have been destroyed is considered, and there is a parallel drawn between Jupiter’s gravity and Zeus’ thunderbolt as agents of destruction. The film ends by imagining the alien inhabitants of this planet, the Phaetonians, visiting earth and making contact with ancient native peoples. This film certainly seems to engage with the pseudoscientific theories of paleocontact or “ancient astronaut theory,” which became popular in the 1970s (and remain so today).