In Chad Gadya, a breathtakingly surreal three-minute film based on the Passover folk song of the same name, Nina Paley and Theodore Gray illustrate the absurdity of our dog-eat-cat-eat-goat-that-my-father-bought-for-two-zuzim world through meticulously crafted “embroidermation,” a form of stop motion based on embroidered images. Paley and Gray stitched nearly every frame of the video on unbleached cotton-muslin matzo covers to create their “animation cels,” then brought them to life using specialized software. The duo refer to the work, which required a year and a half to make, as their “most ridiculously labor-intensive animation ever.”


“Every frame in the video is simply a photograph of an object that exists in the real world,” Gray wrote on his blog in July. There is no Photoshop manipulation. All the close-up animation of the figures is photos of the six-frame sheets as you see at the start of the film.”

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You can even purchase more than a hundred of the original matzoh covers depicted in the film. “These are not reproductions or copies: They are the actual covers photographed for the movie,” Paley and Gray say. “If you find a thread loose in some frame of the movie, and buy that cover, you will find the same thread loose there, too.”

+ Chad Gadya

[Via Open Culture]