Episode 29 - Mr. Bug Goes to Town (Dave Fleischer, 1941)
The Fantasy/Animation podcast takes listeners on a journey through the intersection between fantasy cinema and the medium of animation.
Chris and Alex return to the work of the Fleischer studios for episode 29, following up their discussion of Gulliver’s Travels with Mr. Bug Goes to Town (Dave Fleischer, 1941), similar in concept and design to its predecessor and loosely inspired by Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck's book The Life of the Bee (1901). The second (and final) cel-animated feature film produced by the Fleischers, Mr. Bug Goes to Town negotiates the conflict between an insect community and the threatening human world, all framed by an environmental narrative of modernisation, redevelopment and urban sprawl. Expect turns to the layered organisation of fantasy spaces and geographies of diverse scales; the film's connection to traditions of ecocritical cinema and contemporary computer-animated filmmaking; the depiction of rapid urbanisation and the metonymic forces of capitalism (and the role of cigars!); and animation’s representational history of blackface and racial coding.