In Metamorphosis, filmmaker and media artist Pim Zwier chooses a highly original form to depict the life and work of the German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), whose study of insects laid the foundations of entomology. Her most important work revolved around the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies: she recorded the process in beautiful prints and engravings and was the first to draw the insects in combination with the plant on which they live.
Zwier subtly sets 17th-century drawings and paintings in motion. He also uses actors (including Carly Wijs, Sieger Sloot and Pierre Bokma) to bring historical sources to life. His own observations play a central role: for Metamorphosis, originally a photography project, Zwier started breeding caterpillars himself to document their pupation in close-up. The film includes stunning footage of the process.
This combination of nature documentary, costume drama and art project offers a fascinating insight into Merian’s adventurous life, as well as into one of nature’s most mysterious metamorphoses.