Category Archives: Animation

Boy and the World – Director, Ale Abreu

This is a wonderful and surprising film. It depends pretty much entirely on the animation with no dialogue and only a music soundtrack. It follows the adventures of a small boy from a rural community in Brasil. After his father leaves to work in the city he decides to chase after him and reunite his family. His adventures reveal the complexity of modern Brasil including the good but mostly bad aspects of urban life. The animation art is beautiful and ranges from the very simple to very complex as the urban landscape is revealed. In watching the film I could not help but think that animation is an increasingly important part of all film making now. Not only the animated feature like this one but many live action films now as well. The Oscar category of Best Animated Feature Film (for which this is one of the nominees) seems hardly adequate anymore. I suspect this will not win the Oscar which I am guessing will go to Inside Out however I sort of wish there was something else it could win. I am not sure whether the time has come for animated films to be considered in other categories at the Oscars but ever since Disney created Snow White there has been a need to better recognize the talent and art that goes into these films.

I fear also this film will not get much attention. I saw it at the TIFF Lightbox and I was only one of 5 people in the theatre. Disappointing for what is a very beautifully created film. I may not get to see any of the other nominees except Inside Out which is also disappointing. There were many other Hollywood animated features this year that are not on the list so at least the Academy added some diversity here if not in other categories. If you like animation try to see this one.

The Wind Rises – Director, Hayao Miyazaki

This was my last film of the week and was one of the best. For those who may not know him, Miyazaki is the founder of Japan’s best animation studio — Ghibli Studios. He and his studio have created some of the most beautiful animated films of recent years including Ponyo, Spirited Away (Academy Award winner), From Up on Poppy Hill, and The Secret World of Arrietty (based on the Borrowers stories). Many of these films are oriented toward children but the stories are so sophisticated and the films so beautiful to look at that they attract audiences of all ages. This film is aimed an adult audience and tells the compelling story of the man who designed one of the world’s most successful planes – the Zero fighter plane used by the Japanese in World War II. The plane was revolutionary in design and changed aeronautical engineering forever. The movie however focusses on the man and his life and despite the focus of his career the film has a major pacifist message while acknowledging the brilliance of Jiro Horikoshi the engineer. It is also a charming but tragic love story and explores the tension of love and career in time of war. From what I can find out it will be given limited release in the US to allow for Academy Award recognition and full release in early 2014. I recommend it to everyone and in the meantime if you have not already become a Ghibli/Miyazaki fan be sure to look at the other films listed above.