Daina Krumins | U.S. | 1982 | 16m
color | sound | 16mm blown up to 35mm
preservation by the Academy Film Archive

“Daina Krumins’s Babobilicons is a spectacular special-effects study of molds, mushrooms and similar vegetation.”—Richard Shephard, The New York Times

“A truly surrealist work in terms of both its process and product. Krumins takes time to make her films. It took her nine years to create this remarkable animated short, yet her method is in line with the surrealist affinity for chance operation. She cultivated slime molds on Quaker five-minute oats in her basement, planted hundreds of phallic stink-horn mushrooms, and put her mother behind the camera to film them growing. The results are sexual and bizarre. She combined ordinary objects—wall sockets, candles, and peeling paint—to get unnerving, dreamlike images. Porcelain fish jump through waves; mushroom erections rise and fall. Her “Babobilicons”—robotlike characters that resemble coffee pots with lobster claws—move through all this with mysterious determination. Anyone who orders 10,000 ladybugs from a pest control company to film them crawling over a model drawing room definitely possesses a sense of the surreal.”—Renee Shafransky, The Village Voice

“Taking nine years to produce, Daina Krumins’ unearthly and gloriously earthy film seems to somehow employ both an inevitable (though eccentric) narrative logic as well as some kind of four-dimensional automatic writing. Featuring a cast that includes slime molds, crustacean-appliance hybrids, alarming mushrooms, and thousands of ladybugs, this bizarre masterwork of animation and optical printing is easily one of the weirder visions ever committed to film.”—Mark Toscano