Boy & The World
Not all animated films are created equal. Disney and Pixar make a shit ton of content now, but for the most part, none of it anyone would really describe as experimental. The closest main stream somewhat experimental film I could come up with is Wall-E, just because of the lack of dialogue for a large chunk of the movie.
So for the most part, we have to look to other smaller companies to try and break the mold on the story front. And some times those other companies come from different countries.
That brings us to Boy & The World, a film that technically first came out in 2013 in Brazil as O Menino e o Mundo, but took awhile to get to the US and other parts of the world. It was however nominated as Best Animated Feature for this latest Academy Awards ceremony, and the last one on my list to watch. Despite its language being Portuguese, it has almost no dialogue and is entirely an 80 minute story for those visual lovers out there.
It goes from extremely simplistic, to slightly more than extremely simplistic.
This is a story about a boy named Cuca. They don’t say it in the movie, but you know, the the info about the movie lets us know. He is a small kid living in a small village in a weird world. It isn’t Brazil, this isn’t a real place, but if you want it to be in Brazil I won’t stop you.
Cuca likes to dream. He has a lot of imagination, because you know, he is a kid. He lives with a mother and a father, but times are tough, and the dad has to leave the village to go to the big, emotionless city to find work. Once he gets paid, he could return maybe. But for now, Cuca feels like his whole world has come crashing down.
So, fuck it. He decides to go on a journey and find his dad. And he meets a lot of people and friendly strangers along the way. And a dog! But the further he journeys, the more corrupt and crazy things get. Simple village life is definitely preferred. More fun, more imagination, more love.
And less depressing colors.
Boy & The World is rated PG, but you know what? Kids might not enjoy it. Both of my kids who are old enough to see things and think only watched it for a little bit as I did, then wandered off to do something else. If it was a typical movie, they would usually never do that, because they have simpler story structures to follow. To a kid, this will look like a lot of moving pictures but they won’t know why anything is happening and easily get distracted.
That is me saying that this is not the type of movie you can half ass watch and get anything out of it. You have to pay attention, to see the details, to see the changes, and if you put in the effort, you probably will still be a little bit confused at times. So many characters, but basically no names and dialogue. Just people interacting and living and working.
The art style in this movie is fantastic. It is all quite simple, but it has a lot going on at the same time. It feels like I every frame is taken directly out of a children’s book. We haven’t had a unique art film like this since The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which felt like a moving painting.
The film also goes into some pretty deep stuff. Pretty anti-capitalism and wasting your whole life at work. It isn’t subtle about any of this, especially when it brings in the government oppression. And yes, this is still a PG movie, it just has a lot to say about the world (coughAndBrazilcough).
A fantastic film, one definitely worthy of its nomination.