The Ningyo is a visually impressive short film by Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma, about a cryptozoologist’s search for a mythological creature. Via Short of the Week:
Nothing will give you a crash course in modern digital movie magic like watching the 7min making-of, but the film’s ambitions are not merely visual. At 26min there is a lot more going on than in your typical proof-of-concept short. Professor Marlowe is a famed hunter of mythological creatures, famous for discovering Africa’s famed “zebra-giraffe” the Okapi. But, in a crisis of conscience, he has renounced killing animals. He still wants to hunt mythological beings, but now only for scientific study. One particular creature obsesses him and that is the ningyo, a Japanese fish often referred to as a “mermaid”, and which, according to legend, will grant unusually long life to whomever tastes its flesh. After receiving a map that purports to reveal the location of this the ningyo, he tries to rouse the support of his colleagues in academia for an expedition, only to be roundly mocked. The mockery hides a deeper conspiracy however, as the ningyo is protected by a Japanese clan whose ancestor was cursed by the creature’s gift, and is also pursued by a mysterious collector whom possesses seemingly limitless wealth and reach.