JAPON DE FANTAISIE (1909)
Directed by Emile Cohl
What it is: Exercise in stop-motion animation
That I'm foregoing a plot description of an Emile Cohl short should be no surprise; most of his work involves rushes of stream-of-consciousness images and doesn't really have a story. Even by those standards, this one is slight. This short falls roughly into two segments. The first twenty seconds involves stop-motion animation involving Japanese figurines. The last forty seconds features an insect that hatches an egg of a Japanese mask, and mice emerge from the mouth of the mask. It's mostly notable for Cohl trying his hand at stop-motion rather than his usual animated chalk drawings. However, with a running time of one minute, it's over before it's managed to work up any real impact; it seems more like a snippet of footage from something larger than a movie in and of itself, and maybe it is At any rate, this is hardly Cohl at his most interesting.