Spoiler Alert: DUNE 2

Timmy and Johnny on Arrakis

If I recall correctly (from a few hours ago, I just got home) DUNE 2 starts with a recap of DUNE 1 from a pretty posh lady recording her diary on another planet. Looks like a pile of dead bodies is getting set fire to on Arrakis. I remember the name Arrakis from reading the books 40+ years ago but really not much else, and I didn’t see DUNE 1 so I’m relying on the filmmakers to catch me up. 

On a sandy duneside, Paul Atrides aka Timothee Chalamet wakes up with the Fremen, a charismatic and sexy desert people. Apparently his family “House” is mostly dead, killed by the House of Bald Guys, led by the Fat Ugly Bald Guy. Who’s that woman Timmy is talking with? Is that his girlfriend? Wait that’s his MOM. She pukes which in movie language means she’s pregnant.

Timmy wants to be accepted by the charismatic desert hotties which is very reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia. Also their Lead Charismatic Guy speaks with a strong Lawrence-Arabian accent. He’s on Team Timmy, believing him to be a prophet of prophesy. But first Timmy has to prove himself to the Fremen, who are not only strong fierce and good-looking but also racially diverse, unlike the ugly Bald Guys who are so white that when they have a tournament outdoors the film itself has no color at all.

People of No Color

Looks like a Younger Bald Guy is being chosen as a royal heir, and he distinguishes himself by being a psychopath with a sort of cute face for a bald guy with really dark teeth. He slits the throats of a few bald sluts just for fun. He’s being set up as a foil for Timmy, who is learning the desert ways, helped by an especially cute young Freman possibly named “Chani” but pronounced Johnny. Johnny is the salt of the earth, not like those posh brittle Bene Gesserit ladies. She fights like hell along with all the other Fremen women who are apparently all soldiers. It’s not clear who’s raising the Fremen babies, but we occasionally see old ladies hobbling around in the aftermath of attacks. Johnny teaches Timmy how to camp, and Lead Charismatic Guy teaches him how to ride a sandworm which turns out to be so gigantic it fulfills another prophecy! These prophesies keep getting fulfilled! 

Timmy’s Mom becomes Head Woman of the Fremen because there’s a job opening and they’ll kill her if she doesn’t. She drinks blue poison which predictably turns her eyes blue. Also it turns her power-mad, along with her fetus which got bathed in the stuff in utero and is now both psychic and possibly psychotic. Timmy has recurring nightmares of following a woman to The South which leads to catastrophe. Is the woman his Mom? His girlfriend Johnny? Because Johnny and Timmy have hooked up by now. Johnny is devoted to her people and doesn’t want Timmy to just be fighting for his dumb foreign House. But she doesn’t believe he can be a real Freman either, until he rides that giant sandworm. Then he is accepted into the tribe and given a new name: Ulla or Ulsa or something like that, plus M’aud Dib (I remember that from the books!) which means “desert mouse.” Cute!

Now Timmy’s Mom goes to The South because her job demands it, also she gets tattoos all over her face of some script that looks vaguely like a hybrid of Arabic and Devangari. If I knew someone with a tattoo like that I’d say, “her face is an open book,” but no one says that in the movie. Her eyes are bluer than ever and she’s trying to get Timmy worshipped as a messiah. But Timmy doesn’t want to go to The South because of his nightmares. Who is that woman he’s following? I bet it’s his sister, who’s still just a fetus but obviously psychotic and power-mad like most of the non-Fremen characters. The Fremen aren’t crazy or power-hungry, they just want their land and some water so they’re not dessicating all the time. The outworlders, like Timmy and his Mom and the Bald Guys and the Emperor and the Bene Gesserit and all the Houses, are all WHITE COLONISTS. But obviously Timmy is more than that, he really wants to assimilate into the Fremen but they can’t help but worship him as a god which makes him a White Savior. d’Oh! In 2024? Oh man I can’t imagine the cognitive dissonance the filmmakers suffered here. Eventually Timmy, too, drinks the Blue Poison, which turns out to be baby sandworm puke, which also gives him blue eyes which symbolize INSANITY and POWER to remind us that white saviors are NOT OKAY sort of except they are maybe and that’s NUANCE.

Her face is an open book.

Timmy almost dies from the blue poison and the only thing that can save him is girlfriend tears, so Johnny has to be summoned to cry on him. Earlier in the movie we learn that Fremen don’t cry because it wastes water, but Johnny and Timmy openly cry in spite of that and no one seems to chastise them. Johnny’s tears revive Timmy which is exactly like Disney’s Tangled (Rapunzel) but when he wakes up she slaps him because why did he drink blue poison?? She told him earlier she’d always love him as long as he kept being him, but you know that blue poison is a powerful substance that changes people and now he’s probably not who he is anymore. 

Then there are a bunch of fight scenes and more fight scenes and stabbings and big boom explosions and zillions of soldiers running at each other and hand-to-hand combat and shooting and killing and I would have checked my phone for a distraction at this point because I hate battle scenes but it’s rude to use a glowing device in a theater, even an almost empty one. At least the movie didn’t have explicit sex scenes, that was a relief. Timmy says he will love Johnny forever and then Young Bald Guy and Timmy have a showdown involving choreography and daggers and guess what, Timmy wins! And then he offers to marry the Emperor’s posh daughter, RIGHT IN FRONT OF JOHNNY! Clearly it’s just politics but Johnny, being the salt of the earth, doesn’t play such games so she catches the first sandworm out of there.



PRESS RELEASE: Nina Paley Declines Screening Permission to Vagina Museum

Urbana, March 15 – Nina Paley, a renowned filmmaker known for award-winning films like Sita Sings the Blues and “This Land is Mine” has announced her decision to deny permission to screen her film Seder Masochism to the UK Vagina Museum, an organization which purports to stand for the values of respect, integrity, and inclusiveness, but which has demonstrated a pattern of behavior directly opposite of those aims.

Although Seder Masochism is Free Culture, dedicated to the Public Domain and therefore free to show, edit, reuse, remix, and redistribute by anyone, Vagina Museum Community Cinema Co-Founder Charlie Corubolo (They/Them) wrote in the UKVM’s enquiry, “Even if our understanding is that we can screen the film for free, we would like to ask you for permission to do so and if there is any requirement prior to the screening,” thus granting Paley this opportunity to deny.

As a committed artist who has produced comics, textile arts, films, books, and other works, Paley has historically supported the screening of her work by small organizations, schools, and festivals, believing that culture should be open, free, and inclusive of everyone. Seder Masochism has won awards from the Moscow Jewish Film Festival and Fantaspoa (Brazil), but since its release has been pulled from venues by fearful organizers who surrender to anti-woman activist calls for Paley’s works to be canceled due to her personal gender critical views.

Paley’s decision is extraordinary. This is the first time she has refused permission for a screening of her work, but Paley is standing up for the belief that an organization that purports to realize feminist goals must be consistently inclusive of women. When women objected to the Vagina Museum deploying woman-erasing language, the Vagina Museum reacted with derision and mockery, even referring to objectors by the misogynistic slur TERF. “How can I, as a woman, work with organizations that cancel women? I would be working against myself and my sisters,” Paley added.

Paley hopes this decision will encourage other artists and organizations to reflect on the values they support and promote their work through partnerships with organizations that respect women. “Organizations can support women by acknowledging the definition of women: adult human females. Until they do so, any claims to support women are meaningless,” said Paley. 

The Vagina Museum and others like it which wear a feminist cloak and then muddle and confuse the meaning of biological sex, conflate gender identity with sex, and deny the well-established historical oppression of women on the basis of sex, must be held accountable for their detrimental behavior against women.

For further information:

Nina Paley

Nina Paley remains dedicated to free culture and the widespread screening and distribution of her work, which can be used without permission by anyone, even those she disagrees with.


Have At It


Compressed hi-res MP4 at Vimeo

After 4 tedious days of rendering hundreds of high-resolution video files, only to discover they seemed to be missing one frame each and so weren’t looping properly, followed by a few days of unhappy procrastinating, followed by 3 additional tedious and crabby days of re-rendering, I finally have all the animation of ApocalypseAnimated.com in Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixel) uncompressed Apple ProRes video for your remixing pleasure. Roughly in order, each loop in this gigantic, 20GB file appears exactly once. They can be cut apart and looped again and again in your video editor.

It’s under a Share-Alike license, so you can do whatever you want as long as what you make with it is also Free. I understand some projects want proprietary licenses, and I can negotiate a waiver for those if you email me.

People have used my other Free Cultural works as backdrops for dances and runway shows, illustrations in books, giant puppets, and of course music videos, and I hope all that happens with these too.

In my heart of hearts, some creative sound designer(s) would make fresh audio for these. I made my own short musical video, but it’s barely 3 minutes, and with almost 12 minutes of animation total, most of the work wasn’t included. Plus, I almost always animate to music; what I never do is make animation first and add sound effects later, and these clips provide an opportunity for just that. By looping, the total length of the piece can be extended indefinitely. That means if someone wants to attempt an audio reading of the Book of Revelation, with this animation as the visuals, it can be done.

If you want to try your hand at editing and/or sound design, please have at it. Credit me for the animation and yourself for your work, and anything else you throw in there to whomever else is responsible. Do whatever you want. No permission needed. Have fun and send me a link.


Apocalypse Animated video

I made this little “trailer” video for ApocalypseAnimated.com . It’s only 3 minutes long, while there are almost 12 minutes of animation (without even looping!) in the project, so this is but a mere sample of the wonders to find at the website. But this has music so people are likelier to share and attend to it.

There are some technical looping flaws that bother me. Apparently when I export HD video from Moho, it omits the last frame of the loop, causing a jerk in the seams. This doesn’t happen when I export gifs. To make my hi-res video archive perfect, I will have to go back and add one frame and re-render every. single. file. This took 4 boring tedious days last time, and I’m not looking forward to doing it again. But such are the responsibilities of an Apocalypse animator.

Choosing the song was not straightforward. I was really smitten by Fuck Everything by Euringer (aka Jimmy Urine). It would have supplied nice ironic tension because it’s not intentionally about the Apocalypse, and it’s from the point-of-view of two bratty entitled lovers, which is an interesting lens through which to view John of Patmos and his God. But Fuck Everything already has a perfect video, and who knows what kind of headaches it would cause me; even if Jimmy isn’t a copyright maximalist, his songs are distributed in a  system that doesn’t recognize Fair Use, and YouTube’s ContentID would surely block even its first upload. I did start making an edit with it, but got frustrated (as one does) and that anxiety contributed to my consideration of an alternative song.

Fortunately I’d already compiled a list of old gospel songs that might work, and the top entry proved a good fit. I found it on the wonderful archive.org, where I always go a-hunting in my research phases. I worried that straight-up gospel wouldn’t be ironic enough with the animation, but When The Fire Comes Down had its own irony, contrasting a cheerful jaunty melody with horrific subject matter. Everything fit right away and I banged out this edit in a single day. Thank you, Internet Archive!



10+ years ago, when I was preparing Sita Sings the Blues for film festivals, I had to make heavy, unwieldy, and expensive 35mm film prints. Thankfully I don’t have to do that any more. Instead, today’s cinemas use DCP (for Digital Cinema Package) hard drives. These take advantage of advances in digital technology, as fucked up by a film industry that can’t cope with advances in digital technology. Thanks to the insane and byzantine encoding protocols designed by Hollywood to thwart what computers are inherently best at – copying – making DCPs has long been shrouded in mystery and prohibitive costs.

Since I’m cheap and have practically no income these days, I didn’t want to use a DCP-making service (called a “lab,” as if). Instead, after begging around for favors, and doing much research online, I made them myself.

I used DCP-o-matic. It’s Free Software, created and maintained by Carl Hetherington, to whom I and many other small filmmakers owe a debt of gratitude. I can’t recommend it enough. Apparently many screening venues now use it themselves. I used it to make 2K and 4K DCP files, and English and French “version files” for subtitles. I also burned in English subtitles over “Paroles, Paroles.”


Once I made the DCPs, I had to get them onto portable hard drives, which is no small task. You can’t just drag-and-drop copy them like normal files. Fortunately I found DCP Transfer. It’s not Free, but it is affordable – $25 a month (ugh, subscriptions) plus a $25 initial charge. Today my subscription auto-renewed, just in time for me to be gone for a month, so I contacted the company to cancel and they refunded it. That’s good service! The software works great, too. I had no problem formatting and copying DCPs onto most external hard drives. The exception was flash drives, aka thumb drives; these overheated and usually failed. It’s a pity, since flash drives are so small and convenient. But I found some relatively inexpensive 320GB USB3 portable hard drives, and made enough DCPs to satisfy film festivals.

Whatever my complaints about DCP, it sure beats making (and distributing!) film.