El Apóstol (lost Argentinian first feature animated film; 1917)
El Apóstol (aka The Apostle) is a 1917 Argentine silent black-and-white animated film. It was directed, written, designed and animated by Quirino Cristiani, whose two other animated features are also lost (Sin Dejar rastros and Peludópolis).
It is considered to be the first animated feature film (being 70 minutes long with a framerate of 14 frames per second), but all known copies were destroyed in a fire in 1926.
Instead of using traditional celluloid animation, Cristiani would use flat paper cut-out puppets with rotating/removable members. Character designs were made by Diógenes Taborda, a popular cartoonist at the time.
The film was a political satire about then-Argentine-president Hipolito Yrigoyen, who wants to cleanse Buenos Aires of immorality and corruption.
Yrigoyen flies into heaven and encounters the god of thunder, Jupiter. Using his lightning bolts, Yrigoyen strikes Buenos Aires, and the city is engulfed in flames, burning into ashes, before he decides to start rebuilding the city.
He then awakens, finding out that this was all a dream and is forced to face the harsh reality of complicated politics.
No stills or posters of the film remain, apart from a flyer advertising the film, a few character designs by Taborda and a photograph of the Buenos Aires model, as seen below.
Cristiani would later make another political satire animated feature about Yrigoyen: Peludopolis.
- Page about Quirino Cristiani (also source of pictures). Retrieved 18 Mar '16
- Quirino Cristiani: The Mystery of the First Animated Movies documentary. Retrieved 23 Mar '19