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Rebellion of the Flowers

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Film Identifier: F.2010-01-0343
Run Time
0h 8m 18s
Date Produced
Rebellion of the Flowers is most likely the last film Millie Goldsholl finished, and took over ten years to complete.  Completed three years before her husband’s death, the film is dedicated to “Morton Goldsholl and the Good People who resist the abuse of power in any form.”
Narrated by Shepard Strudwick, Rebellion of the Flowers tells the story of a gardener, Jan, who “understood nature’s needs” and worked hard to grow and care for his plants. He protected and looked after his flowers, providing them with “love and gentle care.” He took great pride in his work and, as a result of his labor, felt “filled with purpose” and “close to God.” However, Jan’s love and adoration of the flowers transforms into a distortion of his power, as he becomes jealous of the flowers bowing “under the intense authority of the sun.” Jan’s body reflects this internal transformation, and he becomes a looming totalitarian figure demanding the obedience of his flowers. When he realizes that his shadow can block the sun, the flowers rebel and twist around his body, drawing him into the earth. The next morning, the sun comes out, and a “sparking and sweet smell” (perhaps Jan’s body transformed into metaphorical fertilizer) mixes with the natural perfume of the flowers.
Worked on by a relatively large team of animators (including Ken Mundie, Paul Jessel, Marie Cenkner, Dan Chessher, Mary Jones, and John Weber), its style is very different than other films made by Millie and the film division at Goldsholl Associates. Drawn illustrations of the flowers and natural world are contrasted with the domineering and almost grotesque figure of Jan. Images of flower petals delicately unfolding are animated with extreme sensitivity. Superimpositions and slow cross-dissolves are used to evoke a sense of fluidity within the natural world.
Rebellion of the Flowers’ critique of power and authority resonates with another award-winning hand-drawn animation created by Millie Goldsholl, Up is Down (1969), that tells the story of a boy who sees the world differently than others and, as a result, is considered a threat to society.
Main Credit
Goldsholl, Millie (is director)
Jessel, Paul (is animator)
Weber, John (is animator)
Additional Credit
Goldsholl, Millie (is writer)
Goldsholl, Millie (is editor)
Kolias, Nick (is editor)
Valentine, Hugh (is cinematographer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)