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By David Finkelstein | January 11, 2006

“Mummy’s Dance” is a not-so-simple story, told in simply animated images, of an identity crisis. In several numbered episodes, introduced by handwritten titles, we meet the mummy, a head wrapped in gauze, seeming to represent a woman whose true, inner self is kept carefully suppressed. In an early episode, an ersatz feminine identity, assembled from lips, eyes and noses taken from ads and TV, is abruptly assembled onto her face. Humorously, the mummy goes through super-brief episodes of escaping to an island paradise, and of “accessorizing” with a wig and sunglasses.

In the video’s powerful ending, the mummy, who is revealed to be an
image on a TV monitor (a prisoner of media-fed images?) hurls her face against the inside of the TV screen so hard that the TV set is knocked off of the crate on which it sits. After this magical act, the mummy reappears with a wise-but-cynical face and a svelte, gyrating body, to do a triumphant dance. Somehow, this ghost in the machine has managed, through sheer force of will, to forge her own identity through the shards of a ruined TV culture.

The style of “Mummy’s Dance” combines accessible, almost slapstick
humor, playfully “low tech” looking graphics (which are in reality quite technically accomplished) and an underlying story of metaphysical sophistication, to create an entertainment that is easy to like, even as it makes a complex statement on identity and mass media.

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