Monday, 21 December 2009


An unnamed little girl wanders through the woods aimlessly, until she comes across a dead lily pulled from its roots. Taking the lily home with her, she shows it to her entomologist grandfather, who begins to tell her a fantastical story about it. The lily had been growing for a time in a beautiful spot by a stream, becoming the envy of many a flowering plant. The lily, so says grandfather, was so beautiful that she inspired grasshoppers and frogs to convene beneath her and play music. But of course, such majesty has the ability to attract negative attention too, as a group of territorial beetles plan to kill her as part of the expansion of their empire. Despite the lily’s protestations, she is callously cut down and used as a bridge for the beetles to wage war on their neighbours. Of course, the rest of the woods refuses to let this happen, and the beetles are ambushed by frogs, grasshoppers, and even a furious pine cone.

Władysław Starewicz, the animator responsible for this touching short, was one of the first artists to make use of stop-motion animation, frequently using dead insects and animals as his puppets. Here, he mixes it with live action to tell a saddening tale of death and belligerence, in clear reference to the First World War which had been ongoing for a year when this film was made. Though aimed at children, the message of Starewicz’s film should resonate with everyone through its heartrending purity.

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