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The plot of the film is a story of friendship between a little country boy and an old fisherman. Santiago, a strong and proud man, cannot accept the implacable passage of time, which takes away physical strength. For many weeks, he returned without a catch. Finally, he makes the decision to go for the catch far far into the sea and not return without catch. Only in this way an old fisherman can regain confidence and self-respect.Written by
Based on Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novella of the same name, Aleksandr Petrov's 'The Old Man and the Sea' is a masterpiece of animated short films, taking a classic story and offering it a beauty that only Petrov could accomplish. Completed over two and a half years, the film was created using paint-on-glass animation, a technique which uses slow-drying pastel oil paints on glass sheets. Running for approximately 20 minutes, the film is comprised of more than 29,000 paintings, each frame a veritable work of art. 'The Old Man and the Sea' was the first animated short film to be released in IMAX format, and I can only imagine how breathtaking it would have been on such a large screen. Alas, I was forced to settle for my minuscule computer monitor, but perhaps I'll get my chance someday.
The film traces the fortunes of an old man named Santiago, who has had a proud, adventure-filled life, and now whittles away his days fishing alone on the ocean, usually without catching anything. His young apprentice, Mandolin, despite being forbidden by his parents to go fishing with the old man, visits everyday, and the old man would often regale Mandolin with the exciting stories of his lifelong travels, of elephants and tigers and the ocean. On this particular fishing trip, Santiago comes up against a magnificent marlin, which takes the bait but refuses to give in. The old man feels that, despite he and the fish being brothers, it is his duty to kill the marlin, and only in doing so can he prove his worth.
The wonderful animation of 'The Old Man and the Sea' is startlingly realistic, but the effect of the oil-on-glass also gifts it with a certain dream-like quality. The ocean is a vast heaving body of blue, a character in itself, and the marlin which lurks in its depths is an immense creature of great dignity. The moment when the struggling marlin tries unsuccessfully to escape by hurtling itself magnificently into the open air is truly affecting. The beauty of this film must be seen to be believed, and the 2000 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film was certainly not undeserved.
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