Ryan. The Ultimate Lesson in Show Don’t Tell and a More Moving Computer Animation Than Anything Pixar’s Done.
My girlfriend Mariko showed me this animation by Chris Landreth at the National Film Board of Canada the other day. It hit me like a rock.
It won an Academy Award and made one of those happy occasions when something superlative won. It is perhaps the best piece of documentary I’ve ever seen and one of the most whole expressions of what it means to make art and what it means to live in suffering I’ve ever seen.
It captures what is handed down from generation to generation. Its characters embody what our mental anguish does to us, literally. It shows what a hold money has on art and why art is oxygen. It has tenderness and such self-awareness and love. And it does all these things compactly in beautiful small, detailed gestures. It is exquisite storytelling. Chris Landreth has committed the greatest act of art: he has paid great attention. And he has cared. And he has not turned even one inch away from the truth.
A note: You will probably cry. I did. But it is the most satisfying and important kind of cry. The kind that lets you know that the very point of being alive has not been overlooked.