Scratch and Crow is a 1995 animated short film (five minutes) by Helen Hill.
It is a meditation on the life of the chicken. The film, hand-drawn by Hill using watercolors, is a dream-like affair using surreal imagery to follow the life of a chicken, from hatching to death. The animation is occasionally interrupted by a poem written by Hill.
Made by Hill for her MFA thesis. Hill's career as an avante-garde animator was tragically cut short when she was murdered in 2007 at the age of 36, a crime that remains unsolved.
- Clucking Funny: Averted. While chickens are generally used for comedy, in this short they are portrayed with dignity and respect.
- Deranged Animation: The thought balloons of a chicken turn into rain clouds, which rain down nests. The nests then eject chicken eggs, which fly, until they land again, and are nurtured into hatching by a cat. Similarly surreal animation is found throughout.
- Interspecies Friendship: The eggs are nurtured and hatched by—a cat.
- Line Boil: Plenty in this hand-drawn animated short.
- Title Drop: One of the verses of Hill's poem.They should be looked after
For how to peck
And scratch and crow
After what is good
- Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: The end of the short has the chickens exiting their tomb and flying off to heaven. (Chickens, of course, cannot fly.)