Today’s the summer solstice. So what do you do when the sun just won’t quit shining? You go outside, of course. And what do you find outside in the summer? Bugs, that’s what, mini-critters that creep, crawl, buzz, bite, flit and fly. Now, few of us have the . . . wisdom? . . . to appreciate these minuscule machines in the flesh; but cartoon a hopper or a spinner, and we like them just fine.
Sometimes more than just fine. A French company, Futurikon, has for some time now been making charming stop-motion, short, animated films under the name Minuscule. These feature your aforesaid insects, arachnids and the occasional gastropod pictured against a real, filmed background and are typically whimsical, droll and poetic. The stories featuring players from the repertory company — “the mischievous ladybug, the inept little spider, the greedy flies, the industrious black ants, the depressed mosquito” — don’t all hit the mark, but most of them do, provoking a chuckle and leaving a gentle smile on your face.
Here’s a selection of these short films. If you enjoy them you’ll find quite a collection of them on YouTube. And you can anticipate the release of a feature film (in 3D no less), “Valley of the Lost Ants.”