A man closes up a lecture hall; he reaches into a box and snips the string holding a gaunt puppet. Released, the puppet warily explores the darkened rooms about him. The desolate ambience and haunting musical score are meant to convey a sense of isolation and futility. As the short continues, the mute protagonist explores a realm of what are described by the director as "mechanical realities and manufactured pleasures". As the protagonist chooses to join this world, the camera slowly reveals how unfulfilling the surroundings actually are.
Senses of Cinema says,
The Street of Crocodiles both recovers and mocks childhood, and our adult memories of childhood, in a grotesque, fetishistic manner, raising questions about the relationship between animation, modernity and the child’s place within this inanimate, inhuman world of technological progress. These processes of the organic and non-organic object relate directly to the technicality of the animated form within cinema and film theory’s often blind refusal to recognise that animation, in its broadest sense, captures not only the essence of the uncanny in film but the essence of the cinematic apparatus. ... The fragmentary nature of The Street of Crocodiles inevitably causes some difficulty in adequately describing its intertwining æsthetic and formal aspects. Yet it is the fragmentary nature of human development, memory and language that reflects the fragmentary world. ...