The Merry Microbes

1909, Émile Cohl

Posted by John Martz, May 21, 2020

In Les joyeux microbes from animation pioneer Émile Cohl, a scientist takes hair and skin samples from a patient, and we observe through a microscope a hidden living world of otherwise invisible germs and microorganisms.

In this case, the microbes—including cholera bacteria—aren't much more than benign drawings morphing from one to another. But here we are, a hundred years later in a world gripped by COVID-19, and it's a reminder of both how far we've come in understanding germs and disease, and how vulnerable we still are to threats too small to see.