Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Sub-Genres - Abstract Film  |   Run Time - 66 min.  |  
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This poetic, hypnotic, and phantasmagoric black and white animated feature is an allegory about what happens after our heroine loses a "very valuable watermelon", and her subsequent toothache, dentistry, transportation to heaven, and earthly return "from being eaten by Max Müller on the day Edward the Seventh dedicated the Great Sewer of London" (Smith). This plot is depicted through magical and alchemical symbology: cats, brooms, salamander, Egyptian sarcophagi, spinning wheels, a Muybridge-like skeletal horse, an egg that hatches a hammer that rings a deep bell, an opened and closed umbrella (i.e., the portable church), etc. There are water symbols and sounds, crashing and breaking sounds, and animal cries of all sorts. In a sequence like Max Ernst's sketches "La femme cent têtes" (The hundred headless woman), the outline of a female facial profile is filled with moving objects; later, two profiles face each other to form the classic Gestalt illusion of a chalice. In one transformation sequence, a creature with spoon-like extensions splits in half, has other parts attached to the new top and bottom, and then becomes two water creatures. All this material is supra-organized in varied cycles into a vast spiritual narrative.

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Keywords

abstract-art, alchemy, evolution, short-films, spiritualism