Netherlands 2023 | 97 min | 4K | 5.1

From IDFA’s catalogue: 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 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.


Featuring: Carly Wijs, Sieger Sloot, Tsead Bruinja, Pierre Bokma, Jonathan Huisman,
Kee Heijmans, Aniek Maas, Sue-Ann Bell
Director, script, editor, camera caterpillars: Pim Zwier
Cinematography re-enacted scenes: Aage Hollander
Sound: Menno Euwe
Sound design: Paul Gies
Music: Holland Baroque
Costumes: Aleksandra Pershay
Key make-up artist: Tessa Hornstra
Production Managemen: Floor van der Meulen
Executive producer: Tessa Bouwmeester
Producer: Carolijn Borgdorff
Produced by: Moondocs

This film was supported by: The Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive, Fonds 21, Het Cultuurfonds, Het Cultuurfonds Documentary Stipend.