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Western Animation / Seder Masochism

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Seder-Masochism is an animated film by Nina Paley. It is a Spiritual Successor to Paley's earlier work Sita Sings the Blues.

Based on Judaism in a similar way Sita was on Hinduism, the film retells the story of the Book of Exodus from The Bible through pre-existing musical numbers, framed by a narration about a traditional seder dinner that commemorates Moses leading out the Hebrew people from Egypt. The story is intersected with Nina Paley interviewing her father Hiram Paley about his experiences as a Jewish man. In these scenes, Hiram is visualized as a Grandpa God and Nina as a sacrificial goat. The film also has a heavy feminist theme, showing the struggle of a Mother Goddess getting gradually replaced by the male and extremely patriarchal Abrahamic God.

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The film was created over the course of six years, finally getting completed in 2018. The first completed scenenote , "This Land Is Mine", was uploaded to YouTube in 2012, and became a viral video in 2014 thanks to heavily reflecting on the Arab–Israeli Conflict.


Contains examples of:

  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the final scene, as various people fight for Israel, the only winner is the Angel of Death.
  • Big Good: The Mother Goddess. Not the Abrahamic God, who is extremely sexist and genocidal.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: During the plagues, the locusts are far bigger than any real insect.
  • Freud Was Right: The mountain on which Moses talks to God intentionally looks like a giant penis, with two smaller hills at its foot as testicles.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: There are two songs in the film that are re-contextualized from simple love songs to religious songs. "Woman" by John Lennon becomes an ode to the Mother Goddess (and the Golden Calf idol representing her), and "The Things We Do For Love" by 10cc is now describing the complicated relationship between Jewish people and their God.
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  • Grandpa God: Hiram, Nina's father looks like this. Averted with God in the Moses segments, who instead appears as a burning bush, a column of flame, or a giant hand in the sky.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Angel of Death looks like this.
  • Jukebox Musical: The Moses segments all use pre-existing songs.
  • Multiboobage: The goddess Hathor, who in this version is the model for the Golden Calf, looks like a cow with a human head and a large number of human breasts on her belly.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The film makes heavy use of this, using cheerful and uplifting musical numbers while horrifying scenes happen on-screen.
  • Straw Misogynist: The film paints Judaism (and by proxy other Abrahamic religions) as heavily patriarchal. In one particular scene Moses has an angry rampage destroying female idols and killing their worshippers, set to "Your Time Is Gonna Come" by Led Zeppelin.
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  • The Swarm: As in the source material, the Plagues include swarms of frogs, lice, flies and locusts.
  • Talking Animal: Nina appears in the movie as a talking goat.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In some scenes, Moses, an old, bearded man, sings in a female voice.

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