The Boy And The World

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Boy And The World
"Every bit as interesting to listen to as it is to watch."

If you've ever yearned for an easy way to teach your primary aged children about the perils of corporate capitalism, this film is for you.

There's a lot of chatter, but we can't understand it (in any language) because we are, from the outset, seeing the world through the eyes of a small boy. writing appears similarly jumbled and mysterious - we get the gist of things, but nothing more. Indeed, that's the way it is with the whole world, rendered here through crayon drawings, watercolours, collage work and more Continually inventive animation creates the sense of wonder and constant surprise that small children experience. We are invited to interpret the world in new ways.

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Essentially a simple story about a happy-go-lucky child from the countryside who embarks on a quest to find his father, The Boy And The World takes us on a journey over land and sea, and through industry, as we follow a substance that is probably cotton from harvest through to processing, weaving and sewing into clothes. Whilst a couple of scenes suggest we're actually in a science fiction film, on an unknown planet (adding to that childlike sense of uncertainty), most of what we see gels with the reality we're used to as adults, but from a child's perspective the inhumanity of it is overwhelming. Some scenes become nightmarish and are likely to scare smaller kids; others are distressing in combination because they're so confounding; they remind the adult viewer how little sense any of this makes.

Adding to the impact of the animation is a highly inventive musical score that draws on traditional Brazilian rhythms and melodies and involves a bewildering variety of instruments. These change according to place, from the simple wooden flutes and maracas of the boy's rural home to the drums and cymbals of the city, where atonal choirs add to the sense of hubbub and disorientation. In fact, the film is every bit as interesting to listen to as it is to watch.

A truly unusual cinema experience that harks back to the days or early animation which used simple techniques to dazzle for a purpose, this is well worth catching.

Reviewed on: 05 Feb 2015
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The Boy And The World packshot
A boy goes in search of his dad.

Director: Alê Abreu

Writer: AlĂȘ Abreu

Starring: Marco Aurélio Campos, Vinicius Garcia, Lu Horta

Year: 2013

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Brazil


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