Take a Drink: every time the Boy meets a new adult who helps him
Take a Drink: each time the same musical theme is repeated in a different style
Do a Shot: for heavy-handed messages
Do a Double-Shot and try to explain the ending to someone else in the room.
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
In a fantastical world of colors and greenery, a little boy lives on a small farm with his mother and father. The farm is not producing enough to support them anymore, so the father departs in search of work. The boy, missing his father, embarks on a journey to find him, following the path to places he thinks his father might find work. Along the way, the boy meets various eccentric characters and watches as workers are replaced by industrial machinery.
Boy & the World is a visual masterpiece, with hand-drawn art creating poetic and stunning landscapes which highlight the mood of every frame. Some scenes are so colorful it’s almost painful to look at, while others are drab and washed out, to highlight a more somber feeling. Director Alê Abreu and his animation team outdo themselves in the creativity department, with a story that is told almost dialogue free, relying completely on visuals to tell the tale.
The only language heard in the film is a nonsense language made by taking Portuguese and playing it backwards.
Also noteworthy is the film’s sound design, which is mostly guided by musical instruments, with an over-arching theme that supports the story. Music gives real character to the film; living and breathing within every character is their own rhythm and instrument, which when combined creates a living symphony. The music is equally crucial to the visual elements in communicating the moods of the story, and is masterfully put together.
From early in the film, elements of class struggle are built upon to make a point about the destruction of natural beauty and traditions. This is most apparent in the film’s numerous scenes involving workers being replaced by machines, and of the Carnivale-like party of singers being attacked by militarized goon squads. This should have been more than enough, except the filmmakers also decided to splice in some actual stock footage of rain forest destruction. The message is carried; and is seen and heard already without the extra step of showing the footage. This choice felt like unnecessary over-explanation of the film’s dominant theme.
While the heavy-handed message is taken a bit far outside the template at times, Boy & the World is one of the year’s most sumptuous visual feasts, so dig in and delve deep.