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Rated NR · 80 minutes · 2013
An Oscar nominee for best animated feature, this magical Brazilian fantasy by Alê Abreu reminded me of Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues (2008) and Tomm Moore's The Secret of Kells (2009) in its crafty combination of simply drawn characters (the boy) and ornate geometrical patterns (the world). The title character is little more than a stick figure, his circular white head and charcoal-black eyes eerily suggesting a skull; Abreu frequently places him against a pure white field, and his adventures include white clouds being spun into thread like cotton. When he leaves his little village to look for his missing father and winds up in the big, bad city, the multicolored environment becomes progressively more detailed and overwhelming. The father finally appears, but so does an identical figure and another one after that, until the crowd becomes a pattern in itself; this merging of the film's opposing visual elements is as terrifying as the adult world it signifies.
Director: Alê Abreu

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