Told through the power of spoken word rap and illustrated with hand-drawn animations and a muted warm color palette, a teen in a homeless family describes his challenges and celebrates the ...
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Told through the power of spoken word rap and illustrated with hand-drawn animations and a muted warm color palette, a teen in a homeless family describes his challenges and celebrates the triumph of his creative self. This film is part of 'American Refugees: Four animated short films about real families, homelessness & resilience.'Written by
Always a good sign when the main problem is that a film is too short!
This short film is one of several which have been made as part of the American Refugees project relating to homelessness and real people – I've not seen the others but on the strength of this one I will probably take a look. This one focuses on Tilawn, a young man who grew up homeless with his father, living in their car and sleeping out under the stars whether that be on rooftops or on beaches. Opening with a rap verse from Tilawn, the film then settle into more of a narration approach as we hear about how Tilawn grew up and the challenges he faced and what he took and continues to take from it as lessons.
Under this the animation is delivered on what appears to be rough pieces of paper, constantly moving with good color. At times it gives it a flickering feeling that I didn't totally care for, but mostly it works very well by mixing elements of what the narrator is saying – so we do not get drab images that drag the film down so much as images that feel honest but include some imaginative touches. The sound quality through the film could have been a bit better since at times it is hard to catch what is said – particularly in the verses at the start and end of the film. Fortunately it does not affect the main body of the film because this is where the film has its strength in the shape of Tilawn.
Although he only has a few moments, he is well used because he doesn't overegg anything but speaks from his heart with a sort of acceptance of someone who has spent years in the face of such hardships (as opposed to the melodrama brought by someone thrown into it temporarily). His comments are interesting, engaging and honest and I could easily have listened to him longer. The animation moves and flows under his voice well and I liked how the two came together. As both a documentary and an animated short it works well and I found it interesting and engaging although I would have liked it to have been a little longer and with more space for Tilawn to discuss.
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