Esma Movies and “Mau”

I don’t really know much about Esma Movies. What I do know is the videos are created by students from France’s ESMA School for animation, graphic design, and photography. Mau is their most popular 3D animation with more than 1.4 million views.

Mau takes place in Ancient Egypt and follows two street cats: Kiphy and Myeou. In an attempt to steal milk from the royal palace to feed themselves and the orphan kittens, Kiphy is adopted by the reigning pharaoah, highlighting the Ancient Egyptians’ obsession with cats. Kiphy is pampered in the royal palace while the other cats starve. However, when Myeou tries to talk some sense into Kiphy, Kiphy suspiciously give up his place by the pharaoh’s side to Myeou, claiming to be “ashamed” and “unworthy” of the position. However, it is revealed that the pharaoh is dead and – true to the Egyptain practice of mummy burials – Myeou is wrapped in gauze and entombed with the pharaoh while Kiphy, having stolen the pharaoh’s leftover milk, recounts a false story to the kittens of what actually transpired.

I like Esma Movies because the storylines for their animations don’t resemble that of trivial cartoons. Their themes, especially in Mau, touch on friendship, loyalty, betrayal, truth, and greed. Typically, while some of their animations are exceptions to the rule, the good guy doesn’t win in the end and live happily ever after. Life gets in the way and screws some of the character’s over, leaving the watcher ultimately angry or unhappy (yet that isn’t to say that the ending isn’t satisfying/doesn’t serve its purpose). The authors have also incorporated a lot of dark humor, mostly notable in Tadufeu. Also, the detail in the animations themselves are impeccable, especially with their other short animation Little Tombstone. 

In conclusion, I don’t really know much about France’s ESMA School, but I love what they’ve done with their short animations and I hope the students responsible for creating Maand these other short animations make it big. It’s one thing to create a banging animation and another to create a great story. To do both – and in the span of 5-7 minutes, I might add – is simply incredible.


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