Starring: Vinicius Garcia, Marco Aurélio Campos, Lu Horta
Director: Alê Abreu
Running Time: 80 mins
Boy And The World (O Menino e o Mundo) is a Brazilian film about a little boy who, after seeing his father leave home in search of work, goes on a great adventure to find him.
This may not be the most engaging or entertaining film, but it does a great job at showing how diverse and imaginative animation can be. With beautifully simplistic animation throughout, this feels like a very pure and innocent film, but it manages to deliver on another level by showing how that innocence can be changed by the world around.
Basically, this film is almost as minimalistic as it gets. It looks exactly like a child’s drawing, and is composed of scribbly-drawn backgrounds, collages and a lot of white paper, in a way that’s slightly similar to Studio Ghibli’s recent The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya.
But it’s not just the look that’s so simple. There’s next to no dialogue in the film, so the majority of the story is told just with the images and the brilliant score, which manages to take you on this young boy’s adventure and give it a sense of drama that is hugely unexpected when you first see that this film just looks like a child’s drawing.
The animation style, however, works wonderfully. I really bought into the look of this film from the beginning, and it only grows and evolves more and more as the film goes on, becoming more and more complex, but still never losing a sense of simplicity, whilst also managing to retain a dazzlingly vibrant colour palette.
The story, on the other hand, isn’t quite so effective. The emotional story of this boy’s search for his father is initially compelling, but the direction that the plot takes, by taking a long time to really get into the bigger adventure, means it’s ultimately not so powerful.
The film also features a lot of political undertones looking at environmental concerns and issues in modern society, both in Brazil and worldwide. Again, whilst they’re impressively deep for a film of such visual simplicity, I didn’t feel much impact from them at all, and that was a little disappointing to see.
Boy And The World, therefore, isn’t really a kids’ movie. Whilst there’s nothing at all potentially hurtful for young viewers, the complexity of some of its themes, combined with the slow pacing and extremely minimalistic look, means that I just can’t see any kids enjoying this.
Overall, however, Boy And The World is impressive in its visual storytelling and refreshingly simplistic look, but the lack of emotional power in the story ultimately made it a little difficult to stay engaged in, and that’s why I’ll give it a 6.8.