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Times of India
A young boy (Vinicius Garcia) leaves his village on a quest to find his missing father (Marco Aurélio Campos) who has left him to work in the city.
The film tells a deceptively simple story of a boy, who has an idyllic existence in his village. One day, as his father leaves him and his mom to go work in the big city, life is fun no more. Gone are the days when he would sing and chase animals in his village. The boy decides to take matters in his own hand and packs his bag to track his father and get him back.
There is minimal dialogue in the film but that hardly matters because the film deftly manages to convey emotions through its unique animation style. The characters that we see, be it the frivolous young parader who helps the boy, or the old man and the dog, who accompany the boy along his journey, are an exciting mix of people who enrich his journey. Topics like urbanisation, pollution, the plight of ageing workers and just how technology and automation are still affecting small as well as big cities are all discussed in the film effectively. Even though the language is Portuguese, one would not even need to glance at the subtitles to relate to the tale as it is universal in nature. Maybe that’s the reason it was nominated for Oscars in the animation category last year.
On the surface, ‘Boy and the World’ looks like an animated film from the seventies that uses the very basic, line drawing animation technique. But just a few moments into the film, you realise that this is just a ploy, and a very effective one at that, which director Alê Abreu uses to a great effect. Since the film is told from a child’s perspective, Abreu has used a simple animation technique which looks like scribbles by a child, and elevates it by using a mesmerising mix of drawing, painting and digital animation to achieve incredible effects. The music — a mix of carnival tunes to sad mono-tones that are both haunting and euphoric at the same time — stays with you long after the film is over.
This colourful joyride is one that we insist you make and see the world through the eyes of a little boy.