23 May 2014

SIFF 2014: The Boy and the World

A father leaves home in search of work and his distraught, curious young son sets out to find him. On his journey he inadvertently gets an education in every sad step of the garment industry.

Director Alé Abreu's charming cartoon The Boy and the World melds a mesmerizing sound design with exemplary animation. Most of the film is in a hand-drawn style with the characters not being much more complex than stick figures, but punctuated throughout are bits of computer-generated psychedelic patterns and satirical collage.

The film's first half is content to just follow the boy as he uncovers new images and sounds in his ever-expanding universe, but the latter part stumbles when Abreu kicks his anti-industrialist agenda into overdrive. For the most part I was onboard with his melding of the two stories, and thank goodness the film's dialogue-free nature saves it from sermonizing, but a brief yet blunt cut to documentary footage of the machines of capitalist greed destroying countrysides is like a bullhorn shouting, THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! It's an unfortunate choice that takes the viewer out of the film's fantastically realized world, from which it never fully recovers.

Also, is it wrong that I liked the martial theme of the fascist police bloc more than the joyous song of the protesting people?

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