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Western Animation / Scratch and Crow

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Chickens are good animals
And small.
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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.


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Tropes:

  • 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.)
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