Animated Short of the Week – Father and Daughter
Father and Daughter (2000)
Dir. Michael Dudok de Wit
Welcome to another edition of “Heartbreaking ‘Reflections on the Passage of Time’ Short of the Week”. This week I give you another melancholy and sparse piece of animation, this time courtesy of a Dutch animator. It is no secret at this point that I’m quite the sucker for this particular brand of animation; the spare brush strokes, the inspiration of woodblock carvings mixed with Impressionist-influenced watercolors, the high contrast imagery and muted colors, and of course, the simple but beautiful plinking of a piano.
Yet once again, I cannot take my eyes away from such gorgeous rendering. A tale simple in its repetition, and its exploration of, once again, the ever-haunting passage of time, mixed with an eternal longing for said memories. In this instance, a girl rides a bike with her father, seemingly a favorite past-time of theirs; father leaves on a boat out to sea, and daughter returns in every stage of her life awaiting his increasingly unlikely return. What is explored here is the passing of the seasons as reflected through different eras of time in one’s life, and the imagery is indeed aggressively obvious in its symbolism; but it’s also not apologetic for this. The film only invites the viewer to soak in beauty and sweeping emotion, and in that, it’s one of the finest of its kind. While not exploring anything as haunting or undefinable as, say, The House of Small Cubes or even Mermaid for that matter, it evokes a much more universal tone, without compromising any of its substance. It simply envelopes you, and dares, nay, pretty much requires a few tears here and there. Enjoy.