L’Idee (1932)

L’IDEE (1932)
aka The Idea
Article 4201 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-12-2013
Directed by Berthold Bartosch
No cast
Country: France
What it is: Animated allegory

While contemplating the universe, a man engenders an idea personified by a naked woman whom he sends out to the world. The idea is rejected unless it is clothed, but it refuses to be so. The man tries to defend his idea, but is judged, found guilty, and executed. Can the idea continue to exist without him?

Outside of some opening titles in French, this animated short (it uses paper cutouts for its effects) has no dialogue and tells its story with visuals and music; it seems to be mostly famous for using an instrument known as Ondes Martenot, which I gather is a theremin of some sort. It is primarily an allegory about the rise of, resistance to, and acceptance of new ideas, and despite some moments that are a little obscure, it’s mostly easy to follow and understand. It reminds me somewhat of a movie I’ve seen recently (though not for this series) called HYPOCRITES from 1915; that one also uses a naked woman as a symbol, in that case Truth, and is once again rejected by society because they can’t handle the “naked truth”. It’s quite engaging in its way, it’s thematic obviousness somewhat offset by the fact that it only run 25 minutes. Still, the wonderful, moody animation makes it worth hunting up.

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