Ahead of Purim, I usually peruse YouTube for new quality Purim parodies. This year, though, I didn’t expect to find a truly endearing animated short film about the Jewish holiday that made my heart grow quite a few sizes.
Created by animator Jacque Pche, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, the stop motion short, simply titled “Purim,” tells the story of a young child preparing to celebrate the Jewish holiday — when her astronaut costume unexpectedly rips. It’s all about how one loving, enterprising and engaged dad can turn a wardrobe malfunction into an awesome opportunity — with some cardboard, paint and lots of love.
As someone who has dealt with costume crises as both a child and a parent, this short was really touching as it celebrates the joys of parenthood’s little triumphs.
The visually appealing movie was inspired Pche’s own childhood and made for their thesis project at California College of Arts.
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“I wanted to create a piece that truly embodied the things I had learned and the things I loved,” Pche, 23, told Kveller over e-mail. “I decided to center it around Purim, my favorite holiday, and one that encapsulates the joy of dressing up, expressing oneself and having fun.”
At a time when a lot of us feel compelled to spend money on fancy holiday costumes, “Purim” is also an ode to the DIY, cobbled together, and dare I say, wonderfully imperfect costume.
Pche’s “love for wearing costumes and creating them from scratch” started when she was 12. “Purim provided the perfect outlet” for her to express herself creatively — and that passion “for physical creation, combined with my love for animation, led me to focus my professional efforts on stop motion.”
Pche says this film is all about fearlessly embracing your passions and interests. The messy-haired, ruddy-cheeked heroine of this movie, like many Jewish girls (and some actual astronauts!) before her, is unabashedly passionate about space, and her dad totally leans into this, filling their home with space paraphernalia.
Pche grew up in a Reform Jewish household and attended a Jewish school. They told Kveller, “I always appreciated the way my teachers explained Torah stories in a relaxed, ‘story-time’ manner that made me feel more connected to the figures as if they were characters, and events as if they were plot points.”
The film is full of sweet Jewish specificities — the Purim festival banner that blows on a fridge, a wrapped hamantaschen and an adorable spaceship lunchbox, and the main character’s play space labeled “Fort Lev,” using the Hebrew word for heart.
“My relationship with Judaism has been shaped by a sense of connection to tradition, community and joy,” Pche says.
The film is definitely full of that joy — it’s a sweet little celebration of being Jewish that’s very needed right now.