Here we re-tell the creation myth of Ch’ujtiat from the Ch’ol People. Stories director Gabriela Badillo’s 68 Voices, 68 Hearts, a series of one-minute animations that preserve indigenous Mexican stories with narration provided by native speakers.
The following story from 19th Century Venice, Italy, is similar to the “Bluebeard” folktales from France, regarding the dangers of female curiosity about forbidden chambers and how questioning patriarchal rules can open the door of truth. This mythic jaunt takes another route about when the Devil married three sisters and how the third sister managed to rescue the other two from the fires of Hell. Italo Calvino also published another variant of this story in 1956, called Silver Nose.
“Everyone knows the Christmas Cat, he’s angry, huge, and mean,” begins the story of inequality and injustice for the poor, with the feline ogre who punishes those who fail to perform for their overlords. Retold in a shadow puppet play from the Icelandic story of Jólakötturinn, by Layla Holzer and Spike Dennis.
An exhibition by artist Cristóbal Valecillos in Los Angeles invoked the Dancing Devils of Yare, a 400-year old Venezuelan tradition celebrating life, the triumph of good over evil, and renewal. His provocative interpretation of the diablo masks, hand-sculpted from repurposed waste materials, takes aim at culture and consumption in the US, a plea for overcoming.
We feature the popularized story version of the French fairy tale ‘La Belle et La Bête’ (Beauty and the Beast), which became a classic 1946 Jean Cocteau film accompanied by composer Philip Glass’s mesmerizing 1994 score.
Watch the 1967 supernatural horror story “Viy” based on the 1835 novella by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, where a student philosopher from the Christian seminary encounters a young woman with dark powers who can summon the ogre, King of the Gnomes, which the author claims comes from Ukrainian folklore tradition.
The traditional Yaqui story of the Sorcerer Cricket, made into a video short by Gabriela Badillo, tells how he saved the people from a serpent monster, only to face the prophesied coming of the Spanish conquistadores.