12. The Lily of Belgium – Władysław Starewicz

the-lily-of-belgium

SUMMARY: An allegory for Belgium’s part in the First World War, told through the story of an army of beetles and a lily.

WHY IT’S HERE: Władysław Starewicz’s ‘The Lily of Belgium’ is a beautifully realised allegory about Belgium’s part in WWI, released while it was still going on. Framed by live action sequences of an old man telling his granddaughter the story, Starewicz once again uses insects to tell his story, in this case an army of evil beetles who destroy the titular lily for their own ends. The beetle army is an amazing creation, memorably bulldozing their way through everything, both on foot and in tiny beetle vehicles. Starewicz’s mastery of his insect characters is even more prominent and the result is a quite beautiful piece of work that contrasts sharply with the cynicism of ‘The Cameraman’s Revenge’.

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