This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Brazilian fable "Boy and the World," one of this year's Oscar nominees in the Animated Feature category, is a stirring blend of gorgeous animation and a simple, heartfelt story.
A little boy, Cuca, is living a happy existence on a farm, which is as much of the world as he knows, and is depicted by writer-director Alé Abreu with just a few lines on a white screen. When his father leaves for the big city, Cuca decides to follow him. Thus begins an adventure in which Cuca finds his view of the world expanding rapidly and Abreu's animation gets more complex along with it.
The results are a kaleidoscope of images and a cacophony of sounds, mixing musical instruments, industrial noises and muddled dialogue (actually, Portuguese played backward) that serve as Cuca's interpretation of a big, brutish world made impersonal by industry and globalization.
Some imagery, like live-action smokestacks belching pollution, tends to beat viewers over the head with Abreu's environmental message and may unsettle younger viewers drawn to Cuca's adventure. The visuals, however, are fascinating, and the movie's central mystery intriguing enough to carry audiences through to the end.
'Boy and the World'
Opens Friday, March 18, at the Tower Theatre; rated PG for thematic material and images; 80 minutes.