Ladislas Starewicz (1882-1965), educated as an entomologist, was by 1910 Director of the Natural History Museum in Kono, Lithuania. After filming several live-action documentaries for the Museum, he started a film about fighting stag beetles but was frustrated when the insects refused to perform under lights. Starewicz decided to recreate the fight by articulating dead beetles in stop-motion photography; he thus discovered his true vocation. In 1911, he moved to Moscow and became a full-time filmmaker for the pioneer Khanzhonkov Company, for which he made this wonderful film among some 25 others. He also directed about 60 live-action features before moving to Paris after the 1917 Revolution where, assisted by his wife and daughters, he made glorious puppet animation fantasy films for the rest of his life.