I’m an animation geek and have been a fan of Pixar Animation Studio since the Listerine ads from the early 90s– before I knew that there was such a thing as computer animation. I had the opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studio this past December for the annual Cartoon Art Museum fundraiser. On top of visiting the Pixar campus, they were also showing various shorts (including “Red’s Dream” and “Tin Toy”) from the studio’s archives with a live panel discussion from the people who’ve worked on them. But the kicker was that they were also giving a private viewing of “La Luna” six months before it would officially premiere. “La Luna” is the short film directed by Enrico Casarosa that will be shown in front of Pixar’s Brave.
It was a thoroughly charming film. There are no dialogs in the traditional sense, but the story and interaction is fully communicated and understood through a gibberish language and body gestures. The film is autobiographical in some sense; Casarosa drew a lot from his own life and his relationship with his father and grandfather. Though it may be a new retelling of the lunar mythology, at it’s heart “La Luna” is a story about fathers and sons: the rites of passage, the passing on of traditions, and the reforging of those same traditions. And that was it’s emotional resonance.
Casarosa talked at length about “La Luna” after the viewing. Perhaps the gems that I took away from his talk were the ones about the process of making it. Pixar fosters a collaborative environment. Casarosa had to tell the story of “La Luna” many times to different people. And as he put it (and I’m paraphrasing from memory), in the telling and retelling of a story, it is reshaped; you leave out certain details that you once thought important and add new ones. I’m reminded of an African proverb: “if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Other animation geeks who go through Casarosa’s blog will recognize the heavy influence of legendary artist and animator Hayao Miyazaki. Animation uber-geeks may even see Casarosa’s homage to Miyazaki in “La Luna”– or as Casarosa calls it, his “little love letter to Miyazaki”. Hint: it’s when he’s air swimming. There’s a similar sequence in Miyazaki’s film “Porco Rosso.”
Posted by Tate Srey