The Periwig Maker: Animated Short Film About Plague-Ridden London
A wig maker locks himself inside his shop and watches as the plague spreads death through the streets of London.
The Periwig Maker is an animated short film based on the 1722 novel A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Dafoe. It premiered in 1999 and went on to win numerous film festival awards the following year, eventually being nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2001.
The film is a bleak tale set in 1665 London, when the city was in the grips of the Great Plague and an estimated 100,000 people went to their graves. In the film, a wig maker (who uses cadaver hair for his wigs) isolates himself in his shop, documenting the grim scene as the city dies around him.
Author Dafoe was a young child when the plague struck the city. His family took him to the country, but his uncle Henry Foe remained in the city. A Journal of the Plague Year is considered a mostly factual historical account of that time, believed to be based at least partially on Foe’s personal experiences.
The Periwig Maker was directed by Steffen Schäffler and narrated by Kenneth Branagh.