‘Moth’ is an experimental short film making a parallel between a woman’s ‘metamorphosis’ and that of a moth’s as director Moema Umann suggests herself. While a documentary description of a moth’s metamorphosis is offered by a narrator’s voice, the process through which a moth is going during its life sounds like fitting a woman’s inner feelings, depending on each woman’s character. There are several species of moths as there are several species of women – the director chose several female characters for her film, though there is one which slightly stands out in the story.
There are also several male characters chosen for the story or should we call them ‘species’ of men. Each of them seems to correspond to a certain specie of woman – keeping in mind that each type of woman has its own way of dealing with her own inner metamorphosis; but there might just be a discreet suggestion that their inner changes are also ‘dictated’ by the male presence around them which gets us to the universal law of attraction and the instinct of pairing sexes. One should not regard the comparison between the moth’s metamorphosis and a woman’s transformation literally though; we felt the parallel between the two is actually a reference to the delicacy and fragility of a woman. The final stage of a moth’s development is represented by its wings – a symbol of freedom and independence but also a symbol of youth, which explains the unanimity of young characters in the film.
This made us think at the quote in the beginning of the short: ‘Because of its delicate structure and brief life span it also represents fragility and impermanence frequently dying in its pursuit of light.’; while referring to the Moth this is however very fit for the youth.
Therefore, the director associates the woman with youth – which is her zenith -, fragility, independence and freedom – this is a way of defining femininity and maybe to also express a little feminism.
There is one question that has arisen though: why choose a moth to define femininity and not a butterfly for example. So watching the film closely made us think that at least some of the characters in it – regardless of them being men or women – through their temper and way of being are very alike a certain stage in the moth’s development process: some are introverted and inner consuming like a pupa, others expansive and free like an imago and others raw like a larvae. So the entire film might as well be interpreted as a reference to the human condition as a whole.
‘Moth’ is hard to decipher but nevertheless obsesses you with its hidden message the same way a moth is in pursuit of light.