Der Lauf der Dinge is that film in which a whole series of objects cascade in a very long Rube Goldberg. (I understand many cultures have had similar cartoonists. I think its wonderful that where previous generations drew pictures, civilization has developed to the point where individuals can and do actually realize and record such fantasies.) You may have seen a take-off of this in a car ad.
I think the reason for our fascination with this has to do with movement carrying the action. You can have theme and variation without movement, and without physical objects. Consider novels, painting, music, and zillion other things. But here we have a case where there is nothing of interest at all except for the theme and variation expressed by the movement and positioning of physical objects. And it is fascinating. A reviewer has written of the film that it is like watching a Hitchcock film with objects instead of people.
[This is fallout from a session at OOPSLA.]