SUMMARY: A group of insects who are tired of being mistreated by humans are visited by insects from another planet.
WHY IT’S HERE: Russian animator Mikhail Aldashin’s funny if somewhat bizarre short ‘Small Insects’ follows the adventures of a group of creepy-crawlies in their quest for equality. The plot is all over the place, beginning with a depiction of the disharmony between humans and insects then suddenly changing to a sci-fi spoof in which insects from another world arrive and inspire the protagonists to try and leave the planet. Aldashin had made cartoons about creepy-crawlies before but in the post ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘Antz’ environment, ‘Small Insects’ needs something more to set it apart. In its opening sequence ‘Small Insects’ achieves this by actually throwing an effective spotlight on the mistreatment of insects, a topic often ignored even by animal lovers simply because, as the title states, they are small and therefore regarded as irrelevant. While the direction the film takes from hereon in is largely zany, those early images of flies shrieking on fly paper and butterflies squirming in pain beneath pinned stomachs cast the film in a darker context and will hopefully help make a few people think twice the next time they’re poised to step on a bug.