The ancient myth of the phoenix, the legendary bird with the amazing power of self-regeneration, is reborn with a modern twist. In this animated adaptation of a story by Sylvia Townsend Warner, we follow Lord Strawberry's search for the fabled bird. He finds it in the deserts of Arabia and brings it home to his aviary. Upon Lord Stawberry's death, however, the phoenix ends up as a sideshow in a fairground. This spirited satire of human foibles, with its timely message about our treatment of nature's creatures, will appeal to young people and adults alike.
The NFB's 51st Oscar®-nominated film.
In this short animation film, a magnificent bird performs for the Emperor inside a glittering palace. Its plumage is a blaze of colour. A blackbird, watching enviously, strives to acquire what he so desperately covets, only to discover that a golden cage can’t compete with the open skies.
This short animation artfully revisits the Greek myth of Icarus. The son of the master craftsman Daedalus, creator of the Labyrinth, Icarus attempts to escape the island of Crete by means of a pair of wings constructed by his father. Upon receiving these wings, made from feathers and wax, he is told to fly neither too low, where the sea’s dampness would clog his wings, nor too high, where the sun’s heat would melt them -- precious advice the hubristic Icarus tragically won’t heed.
In this animated short, Evelyn Lambart uses her well-known style of animation – paper figures and brightly colored backgrounds – to revisit Aesop’s tale of 2 mice with vastly different lifestyles. Ultimately, the film suggests it is far better to live simply and in peace than to live in luxury amidst danger.
In this short film by Norman McLaren, dancers enact the Greek tragedy of Narcissus, the beautiful youth whose excessive self-love condemned him to a trapped existence. Skillfully merging film, dance and music, the film is a compendium of the techniques McLaren acquired over a lifetime of experimentation.
“Deyzangeroo” is a ritual performed in the Iranian port city of Bushehr. Influenced by the city’s colonial rule by the British and Portuguese, and the African slaves that followed, it is imbued with the terror and magic of the lunar eclipse. The ritual is believed to ward off evil spirits and take back the moon. It works every time. Directed by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Ehsan Gharib, this animated short features hand-painted animation, time-lapse photography, trick photography using mirrors, and the haunting music of virtuoso percussionist Habib Meftah Boushehri.
The NFB's 45th Oscar®-nominated film.
This short animation is a zany version of the classic fairy tale, with the leading role played by a mistreated, romantic penguin, with hilarious results. Cinderella Penguin loses her magic flipper as she runs to meet her midnight deadline, but all ends well when Prince Charming finds the right webbed foot and the nasty step-family is brought to heel.
A legend from India, interpreted by a filmmaker from that country. It is a story of gods and men, of suns and moons and Earth, interpreted with an animation style and a richness of colour and design as arresting to the eye as the story and the music are to the ear. Sometimes the illustrations are painted on cells, sometimes the figures are cut-outs moving across shining backgrounds, but always the pace is gentle, inevitable.
This animated short is a visual representation of Goethe's poem, The ErlKing that uses sand-on-glass animation set to the music of Franz Schubert. The moving images, resembling woodcuts, capture the haunting, nightmarish quality of the tale of the ErlKing who steals and kills a little boy.
Based on a Jewish folk tale adapted by playwright John Lazarus, this animated short tells the story of Shmendrik, a simpleton living in a small Polish village. Weary of daily life in his native Chelm, Shmendrik sets out on a quest for knowledge that brings him to a new Chelm, a place eerily reminiscent of his old Chelm. An amusing take on our tendency to romanticize what we don't have.