Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Boy and the World (2013) New York International Children's Film Festival 2014

I admire the audacity of NYICFF for showing this film at the festival. I say this because this is one of the most thematically complex films that I think they've run. I know that how it plays for kids is going to be different than for the adults.

This is nominally the story of a little kid who leaves home to find his father and learns about the world. As he learns more the more complex the drawings and music become. The film actually has lots of layers to it, many of which are not readily apparent until you get to the end of the film- who the adults the boy meets are actually revealed to be someone that changes what exactly the film is. I know most kids, and even some adults aren't going to get what the real story is, which is fine. However I think whoever catches on to what the film is will be moved.

On a technical level the film is a delight. The way the film looks,and how it changes is masterfully done. Each individual shot and sequence is glorious. The soundtrack is equally wonderful and frankly were it not the flim wouldn't work. I say this because the film has no translatable dialog and so the music has to move things.

Intellectually this is one of the best films I've seen in 2014.

The trouble is that emotionally the film doesn't completely work. The individual pieces never come together to be fully an emotional whole. Yes the end moved me because of the ideas, not because of it touched my heart. To be honest I fell asleep two or three times.

I love that this is playing at NYICFF but at the same time I know its going to get lost here since this is the wrong audience. This should have played at Lincoln Center or MoMA at Film Comment Selects or New Directors New Films where the complexity of the tale could rightly challenge an audience willing to meet it head on.

See this on the 29th if you want  heady challenge.

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