These unique, inspired animations are the handiwork of Nina Paley, a well known cartoonist and animator. This first animation, a scene from a full length movie about the exodus from Egypt incorporates the famous Afro American spiritual, originally sung by Paul Robeson. While reminding us of the more “recent slaves” in the southern U.S., it takes us back to the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. The use of music in this animations and the others is so metaphorical that it can take you anywhere.
Paley’s animated scene entitled “Exodus” is phenomenal. Using the title song from the Marlo Thomas album “Free to be… You and Me” about helping boys and girls go beyond gender stigmas and helping them understand that whoever you are, you can achieve anything, Paley takes the song to the exodus from Egypt and gives it a whole new twist. The humor and captivating style in this animation, as well as the beat and rhythm of the song, give it energy and inspiration which is contagious. Paley genuinely relays the message of freedom while keeping the song wryly humorous (note the Egyptians floating up and down in the waves to the beat of the song).
The Four Tops song from the 60’s “Reach Out – I’ll be There” seems to be an unusual choice to accompany the animation of the Israelite’s journey in the desert. Yet it also fits perfectly. With God as the “boy” and the People of Israel as the “girl”, He asks them to turn to Him and He will support them. This is the same analogy which appears in the Song of Songs, a text read on the holiday of Passover, a reminder of the special relationship between God and His People.