The Monk and the Fish

The Monk and the Fish

I am convinced that the benedictine monks from Norcia monastery will agree with me. An alternative title of this marvelous creation signed by Michaël Dudok de Wit can be “Quaerere Deum”. Translated from Latin it is a short sentence which captures the core of both monastic and lay Catholic life: seeking God. This is the profound reality which is depicted through images and sounds by the story illustrated in The Monk and the Fish.

We know that for the first Christians, who in the first three centuries of the Church lived in times of bloody persecution from the side of Roman state, the fish symbol was a sign of recognition. The reason of this is related to the usage as an acronym of the Greek word ἰχθύς (ikhthýs, fish) for a veritable short confession of Christian faith: Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr  (“Jesus Christ, Son of God, [Our] Savior”).

So, if we know what the fish can be, every detail of Michaël Dudok de Wit’s cartoon acquires new and deep meanings. The restless monk is the one who seeks God day and night. He uses all possible means to reach the goal of his life. Similarly, the life of any true Christian – whose model is that of the contemplative monks – is defined by the same aspiration. In an unexpected and simple manner, this animated movie reminds us of such an essential truth.


  • Original title: Le Moine et le poisson
  • Author and director: Michaël Dudok de Wit
  • Original language: No dialogue
  • Genre: Short animated film
  • Release date: 1994
  • Public: Adults, teenagers, children