Sunday, February 6, 2011

Felix the Cat meets Holdahl's Space Opera

I found this on Alex Ross's "The Rest Is Noise" blog -- a collision of a 1928 Felix the Cat cartoon and the music from Karl-Birger Blomdahl's 1959 space opera Aniara. I tried to stop a few times, but the imagery became more and more surreal and the music is equally surprising. And I watched it through twice. Blomdahl's opera couldn't be darker. Here's the synopsis, per Wikipedia:

Controlled by the computer Mima, the space ship Aniara leaves the poisoned Earth, heading for Mars. Through Mimaroben, who is the operator of Mima, the emigrants learn of the evil of mankind.

During the celebration of midsummer, the vessel is thrown off course, causing panic, and forcing a journey to the constellation Lyra,which commander Chefone says will last for the rest of the lives of the crew and passengers. When the Earth is destroyed, Mima cannot continue, and Sandon makes jokes about the safety on board, but when the mute describes in signs the end of the world he becomes silent. Chefone blames Mimaroben, who, with the pilot Isagel, is taken away.

The commander deals as best he can with the increased despair and moral deterioration among those aboard, depicted in a scene in a hall of mirrors, where Daisy Dodd, her lesbian partner, and the passengers dance, and the blind poetess speaks of her cult of Light, which has replaced Mima. The body of the dead chief technician is shot into outer space in the direction of the star Rigel. The 20th anniversary of the voyage is celebrated, and the blind poetess ecstatically sees the city of heaven, but is taken away.

The final scene shows the last night onboard where Isagel dances and the blind poetess sings of the joy of death. A light beam sweeps over the dead passengers and Mimaroben prepares for the end. Finally darkness descends over the occupants of the space ship, and the audience in the theatre.
I'm not sure considering the cartoon in this particular light is helpful, though. Felix has his own issues.

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