Monday, November 10, 2014

#1,547. La Luna (2011)

Directed By: Enrico Casarosa

Starring: Krista Sheffler, Tony Fucile, Phil Sheridan

Trivia: This movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film

Whenever Pixar releases a new feature film, I find myself just as anxious to check out the short that plays at the front of it as I am the movie itself. When Brave hit theaters in the summer of 2012, it was preceded by a marvelous little gem from writer / director Enrico Casarosa titled La Luna, a short subject about three generations of a family working together to complete a very unusual task.

It’s nighttime, and a small rowboat makes its way to the middle of the ocean. Aboard are three people: young Bambino (Krista Sheffler); his Papa (Tony Fucile); and his grandfather (Phil Sheridan). After presenting Bambino with a gift, a new cap that matches the one they’re wearing, Papa and Grandpa squabble over how the boy should wear it. Before long, the full moon rises, at which point Papa extends a long ladder, one that reaches high into the sky. Carrying the boat’s anchor with him, Bambino climbs the ladder and, once he reaches the top, floats up to the moon, which he finds is littered with bright shooting stars that have landed on the lunar surface. After Bambino secures the anchor, Papa and Grandpa climb the ladder and set to work sweeping the stars into a pile. Just then, an enormous star comes crashing down, one far larger than any Papa or Grandpa have seen before. Not to worry, though, because Bambino has a plan that, if successful, will make this monster star a little easier to handle. 

First and foremost, I love the imagination on display in La Luna, creating a reality in which reaching the moon requires nothing more than a long ladder. On top of this, the movie explores the sometimes tense relationship that develops between a father and a son (Bambino's dad and granddad argue about everything, including how best to dispose of the unwanted star). Not a single, intelligible word is spoken throughout the film (Papa and Grandpa grunt from time to time, while Bambino remains silent throughout), yet never once do we wonder how the characters are feeling (in what is my favorite moment from La Luna, Bambino stares in awe at the moon as it rises into the sky).

Geri’s Game remains my favorite Pixar short, but whenever I need a quick pick-me-up, La Luna can always be counted on to bring a smile to my face.

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