(5 minutes long; make sure your sound is on)
I've always been fascinated with marionettery, so I was really captivated by this video. As if the footage itself isn't surreal enough, I think the song gives it a sense of poignancy that somehow makes it seem somehow both more familiar and more alien at the same time.
Anyway, this is a clip produced from footage of "The Sultan's Elephant," a week-long public performance that took place in May of this year, in London, performed by Royal de Luxe, a French mechanical marionette street theatre company.
I haven't read all of the backstory yet (available here), but since the project was commissioned to celebrate the centerary of the death of Jules Verne, it likely follows one or more stories he's written (none I'm familiar with). Briefly summarized, I think it goes something like this: a sultan dreams of a little girl, who arrives in a time-travelling rocket; she wanders around with the sultan's elephant for a few days, exploring and observing ... she has a needle and thread, and apparently likes to sew things (for example, a bunch of cars to the pavement), then departs in her ship.
The London show began with the appearance of the rocket ship in Waterloo Place. The Sultan's Elephant arrived the next day as the Little Girl emerged from the ship. As more and more Londoners heard about the event, the crowds grew on each subsequent day until there were thousands of people showing up to watch by the end of the performance four days later.
Some related links:
- a Flickr group with photos of the London show
- the BBC London site, with links, photos, and info
- Lift UK, the London organiser's site
- the Wiki article on the show includes several external links and photos
- results of a search on YouTube for a bunch more videos
Also, the song in the clip is "Decollage" from the CD "Jules Vernes Impact" by Michel Augier's band, Les Balayeurs du Desert. The vocal sample is from the song "It Amazes Me" by Blossom Dearie.
Appropriate. I am amazed.