16: "Snakes"

I read a book a few years ago called The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler.  In it, she introduces a theory about cultural and social models called the Dominator model and the Partnership model.  She believes and offers evidence that in the very beginnings of human history, human beings were under a Partnership social construct. Men were not seen as lesser or better than women. Women were not seen as lesser nor better than men. Women had roles such as gathering foods, agriculture, raising the young.  Men were the hunters and travelers.  But no job was more important than the other.  One needed the other.  One tribe or group often helped other tribes or groups because, as we are collective beings, they knew that the more people to help out the better chance they all had of surviving.

But then there was a shift. Tribes and groups realized that you could dominate (usually kill) other groups and take their resources for themselves. This is the Dominator model.  And so along came the conquerors and dynasties. Genghis Khan and the like. And it was firmly planted in our general way of living that as long as you had power, you were in control. Power became the most important goal and cooperation fell by the wayside.

Here's an excerpt:

“All over the ancient world, populations were now set against populations, as men were set against women and against other men. Wandering over the width and breadth of this disintegrating world, masses of refugees were everywhere fleeing their homelands, desperately searching for a haven, for a safe place to go.

But there was no such place left in their new world. For this was now a world where, having violently deprived the Goddess and the female half of humanity of all power, gods and men of war ruled. It was a world in which the Blade, and not the Chalice, would henceforth be supreme, a world in which peace and harmony would be found only in the myths and legends of a long lost past.” 

Fast forward to now and things aren't much different.  Certainly more complicated but not different at all. There is an established group that holds power.  And those who aren't in power (or privileged) are generally marginalized, weakened, oppressed, suppressed and sometimes destroyed.  All in the name of maintaining and expanding control.

This film is an attempt to express this concept. The one thing I really made sure to include here is that even though some groups are inherently void of power, they still have the natural propensity to need power. If anything "is what it is", it's the basic human need for power and control. To take, take, take until there's nothing left.

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I did this film completely CGI so there's not much to talk about as far as unconventional ways to make an animated film.

But I will talk about my main reference for this film, Lotte Reiniger.  She is one of my favorite filmmakers and a big influence on me.  She made the very first animated feature film called "The Adventures of Prince Achmed".  This film came out in 1926.  That's ELEVEN years before 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. She made lots of wonderful films by animating paper cutouts and using them as silhouettes. If you aren't familiar with her work, you should check out this clip from Prince Achmed: