Boy and the World
|Boy and the World|
Promotional release poster
|Directed by||Alê Abreu|
|Produced by||Tita Tessler|
|Written by||Alê Abreu|
Marco Aurélio Campos
|Music by||Ruben Feffer|
|Edited by||Alê Abreu|
Filme de Papel
|Distributed by||Espaço Filmes|
|Language||Portuguese (spoken backwards)|
Boy and the World (Portuguese: O Menino e o Mundo) is a 2013 Brazilian animated adventure film written and directed by Alê Abreu. It was nominated at the 88th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. The film was created using a mix of both drawing and painting and digital animation.
The entire film is told with very little dialogue and what dialogue there is, is actually Brazilian Portuguese spoken backward.
Cuca lives a very simple and blissful life with his parents, playing in the forests and interacting with the animals and listening to sounds that are represented by glowing balls of light. One day Cuca's father leaves by train to find work, saddening Cuca with the nostalgia of playing with his mom and dad. Feeling that he will never be happy again, Cuca leaves with a large suitcase that contains only a picture of him and his parents. While waiting for the train, a sudden gust of wind lifts him up carrying him far away to a world that appears to have two moons.
Cuca is rescued by an old man and his dog, who promptly take him along to work in the cotton fields. While there, Cuca hears the music of a traveling parade led by a young man in a rainbow poncho. The foreman of the cotton fields begins going over his workers firing those who are unable to work or are sick which unfortunately includes the old man. Cuca, the old man, and the dog leave and stop under a large pink leaved tree where Cuca spots his father traveling in the back of a truck and leaves the old man and dog to continue his journey.
He arrives at a factory where the workers churn the cotton into fabric in robotic unison. At the end of the day, Cuca takes a bus into a grimy city and he ends up staying with a young factory worker who is later revealed to be the rainbow poncho-wearing parader. In the morning, Cuca and the young man arrive at the market where the young man works as a street musician on the side. While playing with a kaleidoscope, Cuca ends up on a barge where he learns that the fabrics are taken to a futuristic utopian city where they are folded and repackaged to be sold back in the grimy city. He reunites with the young man who takes him back to the factory to reveal where he makes the rainbow poncho. They then witness the factory's manager making a deal with business men to replace the workers with a large automatic machine. The young man and the rest of the workers are fired and it is implied that they will continue to work in the cotton fields.
While making their way back to the city, Cuca and the young man are stopped in traffic by the parade. Cuca suddenly spots the train his father came on and, using the young man's bike, arrives at the station to greet his father. However, Cuca is shocked to see multiple fathers who all look the same and all came to the city for a similar purpose. The parade is suddenly stopped by the city's army which is represented by a giant rainbow bird being defeated in combat by a black bird and various army weapons. Cuca later witnesses young children living in the slums preparing to start a rebellion of some kind.
In haste, Cuca runs back home where he witnesses various machines taking over everything inter cut with live-action footage. He arrives back at the pink leaved tree where it is revealed that the old man is actually an older Cuca and that the tree is outside his now dilapidated childhood home. In flashback, the young man, who is also Cuca, is seen leaving home and saying goodbye to his mother while seeing a sapling of the tree. Old Cuca pins the photo of him and his family and dons the rainbow poncho where it is shown that his childhood home is surrounded by newer houses and farmers where their children continue to play. The movie ends with one final flashback of Cuca and his parents planting the seed that will become the pink leaved tree.
- Vinicius Garcia as Cuca (Menino)
- Felipe Zilse as Young Man (Jovem) / Additional voices
- Alê Abreu as Old Man (Velho)
- Lu Horta as Cuca's mother (Mãe)
- Marco Aurélio Campos as Cuca's father (Pai)
- Cassius Romero as Dog (Cachorro)
The film holds a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 7.8/10 average rating based on 56 reviews. The consensus states: "Boy and the World's distinctive animation is visually thrilling – and it's backed up with a daring, refreshingly different storyline that should enthrall younger viewers while resonating deeply with adults". The film also holds an 80/100 Metascore on Metacritic.
The film's worldwide premiere occurred at the Ottawa International Animation Festival where it won an Honourable Mention for Best Animated Feature "Because it was full of some of the most beautiful images we've ever seen". It also earned an honorable mention at the Festival do Rio and won the Youth Award at the Mostra de Cinema de São Paulo. At the Festival de Cinema de Animação de Lisboa, it won the Best Film Award. At the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, it won the Cristal Award for Best Feature Film, and was voted the favorite film by the audience. In 2015, at Animafest Zagreb, the film won the Grand Prix for feature film. The jury stated that they have awarded the film because it uses innovative artwork, combines both political and emotional feelings, that took them on a colorful trip. In 2016, Boy and the World won the 43rd Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature-Independent.
Menino and the Children of the World is currently in development. It is a French production and it will be educational.
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