Tusalava (Len Lye, 1929)

This is Len Lye’s first film.  The (great) sound design for this particular version is from Tiantian Zhu.  LUX archive offers this brief description of the project:

“Its title is a Samoan word, suggesting that ‘in the end everything is just the same.’  Len Lye conceived the film as the first of a trilogy of films about ‘the beginnings of organic life.’  Because of lack of finance, parts two and three were never made. Its central motif is the witchetty grub. ‘To get the spirit of the imagery I…imagined I was myself an Australian witchetty grub who was making this animated ritual dance film.’  The whitchetty grub is the totem of a tribe near Alice Springs which considers grubs to be the ancestors of humans. The cocoon-like shape in Tusalava (which Lye has described as ‘a totem of individuality’) can be seen evolving towards human form. Meanwhile, it is menaced by a sharp tongue creature that is “a cross between an octopus and a spider.”

I wish there were a part two and three. 

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