If you guys read my response to the Oscar nominations you may recall my disappointment at The Peanuts Movie being snubbed for Best Animated Feature Film. In it’s place was a film called Boy and the World or o Menino eo Mundo in Portuguese. I had heard of this film but it had mostly fallen under my radar so the nomination was a big surprise. Today I had the chance to see the film and I can see why it got nominated. I don’t know if I would pick it over Peanuts Movie but a lot of that comes down to personal artistic taste.
Boy and the World is directed by Brazilian animator Ale Abreu and was released in that country back in 2013. It is made using mostly sketch animation with some live action imagery and paper mache thrown in. The film’s biggest strength is it’s wild imaginative artistry. It’s a real joy to watch.
As you can see the animation is quite beautiful but what adds to the appeal of the film is the wonderful music. Written by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat it combines ‘pan-flute, samba and Brazilian hip hop’ into a delightful absorbing experience that made me smile. Here’s one of the main themes:
The visuals combined with the music at times feel like a kaleidoscope and I never grew weary of the imagery. It is a bit self indulgent and has little to do with the main plot of the boy looking for his Dad, but I liked it. However, I can picture that bothering some people but not me.
The ending of Boy and the World does try to say something about war, commerce, industry and waste but that wasn’t as effective as the rest of the visuals. It felt a little heavy handed where the rest of the film had spread the same message using joy and light. We didn’t really need the contrasting images.
There is little to no dialogue in Boy and the World so there are no cultural limitations or barriers. I know films with no dialogue aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy them when done right and this is.
So is it better than The Peanuts Movie? Again, it just depends on what you like. They both have simple stories at their centers with depressed little boys and great music. Both are also visually innovative and beautiful. If you like more earthy, surreal art you’ll like Boy and the World better. If you like the more modern realistic pop art than you will like Peanuts Movie better. I personally have an attachment to Charlie Brown so I enjoyed his story more but I also loved the newness and creativity of Boy and the World.
Either way I can see why the academy nominated it. It’s a beautiful film and adds a strong artistic entry to 2015 that we really didn’t have outside of The Prophet. If you get a chance to see it let me know what you think.
My youtube review