Heavenly Father work-in-progress…

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New York City! Seder-Masochism Work-In-Progress Benefit April 21 at IFC

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Thursday, Apr 21, 2016 7:30 PM EDT
IFC Center, New York, NY

You must purchase advance tickets for this event.

All singing! All dancing! All 40+ minutes of my feature-film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism! This is not the finished movie, but the core musical scenes animated in Flash. While I take a production break to learn new software to make the rest of the film, let’s watch all these crazy scenes together in a theater. Featuring:
Goats!
Egypt!
Plagues!
Death!
Idols!
Commandments!
Unsubtle phallic imagery!
…and MORE!

FREE MATZOH!

Big thanks to my friends at GKIDS for making this happen.

Seder-Masochism is Nina Paley’s second feature film, currently in production. Like its predecessor  Sita Sings the Blues, it’s an animated musical – but this time it’s based on the Passover story, the Book of Exodus. In spite of being an irreverent atheist, Nina is also a card-carrying Jew, entitling her to make scenes such as the now-famous This Land Is Mine:

Here are a few stills and animated gifs from the project:

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Thirsty Hebrews charged on by increasingly frustrated Moses

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snake dancer jewish4 gif

Moses Aaron2

Exodus14-30

 

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Wadjet36 HathorWalk36

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Chad Gadya embroidermation finished at last!

After a little over a year and a half, and many interruptions, we finally finished our embroidermated short, Chad Gadya. While we were working on it (actually I was working, Theo was procrastinating) this other embroidered short came out, but there are differences. Thanks to Theodore Gray’s stitchcoding in Mathematica, we weren’t restricted by (invariably crappy) off-the-shelf software. This allowed us to automate beautiful iridescent stitches and preserve them from frame to frame, so the resulting animation really looks like moving embroidery.

Every single embroidered frame you see here is available for sale, signed and numbered and one-of-a-kind. Only 9 months ’til Passover!

Chad Gadya will function as a sort of “intermission” in my feature film Seder-Masochism, marking the end of the Passover meal but just the beginning of the Israelites’ trials in the desert.

Update: Theo’s post on the technical side of stitchcoding embroidermation.

“It took a while to get all this code right, but of course it’s crucial that it cover every possible case, because when you’re doing animation, it’s not about getting one frame right, it’s about having an automated process that always gets every frame right, not just once, but every time there is an iteration of the animation requiring a re-render of the frames. We must have generated tens of thousands of frames (just generated the files, not actually stitched them!) before it was all looking good.” Theodore Gray

Update 2: All the stitching files we made for this are Free (CC-BY-SA) at archive.org! Download ’em and stitch ’em out as you please. They’re PES format; wish we had something better, but all embroidery formats suck.

The Exodus

Following the Ten Plagues – particularly the Death of the Firstborn Egyptians – the Hebrews finally leave Egypt.

Music: Free To Be You And Me by the New Seekers. More about that song and my use thereof in another post.

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Exodus 12:28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

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Exodus 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

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Exodus 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

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Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

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Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

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Exodus 14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

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Exodus 14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

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Exodus 14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

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Exodus 14:30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

…..

The last beat is the desert, where the Hebrews will spend the next 40 years:

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Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of theLord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Moses Goes Down

Here is Exodus 3-7, too much to quote here. Featuring the Burning Bush, Moses, Hebrew slaves, strange gods (actually goddesses), Aharon, Pharaoh, a staff turning into a snake, and sing-along phonetic hieroglyphs.
The introduction to this scene is “God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb”.

Music: Go Down Moses
Arranged and performed by Louis Armstrong (with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1958)

Unlike most other Seder-Masochism scenes I’ve posted, this one isn’t primarily parody; the overall message is similar to that of the song. I still argue it’s Fair Use, and transformative. Parody isn’t the only way to transform (nor is transformation the only criterion for Fair Use). “Go Down Moses” itself was transformative without being parody: it made Exodus into a story of American slavery. Creativity is complicated and shouldn’t be dictated by lawyers. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Like this work? Donate here.

Best Haggadah Ever

This is the best Haggadah ever. It contains profanity, so if you don’t like swears maybe don’t click the link. But if you don’t mind swears, or like them, and you’re Jewish or Jewy or philosemitic or just have a thing for Passover, you should check out The Fucking Haggadah.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Here they are, in order, in time for Passover: all Ten Plagues I animated for Seder-Masochism, my feature-film-in-progress. Yes, they will be joined together by a unifying narrative device in the final film, but for now they exist as separate clips. Click on each one for more information and higher resolution. Like this work? Donate here.

The Third Plague (Lice) – rough

The Third Plague (Lice) – rough from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

“16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

“17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”
–Exodus 8, King James Version

Like many filmmakers, I use Moses to represent both Moses and Aharon.

The music is “Insects” by Oingo Boingo (1982). The lyrics, which are hard to understand here (but will get a bit easier when we get to flies and locusts) are:
Tiny insects in my hair
Tiny insects everywhere
Tiny insects in my pants
Watching insects make romance
Insects make you make me want to dance
Dance (dance)
They make me want to dance
Dance (dance)
Those insects make me want to dance!

Death of the Firstborn Egyptians


The most recently-completed scene from my feature-in-progress Seder-Masochism.

written, directed, designed, animated, produced, etc. by Nina Paley
music from “Spider Suite” by The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra
sound effects by Greg Sextro

DONATE HERE: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Based on Exodus 12:
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

*****

LYRICS by David King, aka Duke of Uke:

DEATH: Falling stars you wished upon
are cinders now and now they’re gone
their residue festoons my fetid field.
Unfeeling husks of lovers past
the shells are all that ever last
I’ve taken everything that they concealed.
Whoever told you life was fair?
Look around you, everywhere
the cruelty of nature is displayed!
Why the scorn?
Why the surprise?
Everything that’s born must die
and it isn’t I who made the world that way.

What wicked little twist of fate
placed you her upon my plate
Here, where no one hears your cries?
Where was your god to steer you through
Perhaps your god’s forsaken you
Otherwise why lead you here to die?

BA (spirit of the dead): I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know

DEATH: It’s merely moments now,
moments now until
your feeble flesh bends to my will
and it will
so rest your weary head.
There’ll be no pain,
no pain at all
as everything you are dissolves
Your fate resolved
upon my silky thread.

BA: I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know
(repeat)

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He…

God5

…and smote the Angel of Death that slew the Slaughterer that killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Angel of Death came…

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…and slew the Slaughterer that killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Slaughterer came…

 

shochet4

…and killed the Ox that drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

 

Update: animation modified to show Shochet slicing from below. He’s still decapitating the poor beast, but it’s slightly more kosher for sticklers. Yes I know kosher slaughter involves slitting the animal’s throat, it just seems so grotesque that the cartoon shorthand of bloody decapitation expresses it best for me. But for those who consider slitting from below important, here ya go.

The Ox came…

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…and drank the Water that extinguished the Fire that burnt the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat that my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Water came…

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…and extinguished the Fire, that burnt the Stick, that hit the Dog, that bit the Cat, that ate the Goat which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya

The Fire came

flame+stick…and burned the Stick that beat the Dog that bit the Cat that ate the Goat which my father bought for two zuzim. Chad Gadya