A stunningly beautiful picture, telling a very simple story in a beautiful
way. The introduction, a Portrait of Ernest Hemmingway, was also fun,
though a little grandstanding for my tastes.
The introduction is confined to a
small room where a couple of video editors are pitching their idea of a good
biography to their boss, back in the year that Hemmingway died. They show
a video outlining his life, especially his loves, hunting and fishing, Spain and
Cuba, and so on. They continue their banter, at the same time giving us
more information. The camera pans over the novels that he has written,
strewn about the table, as we listen to a recorded message from Hemmingway
The main focus of this film, even though it takes up less than half the
running time, is the animated adaptation of Hemmingway's novel The Old Man and
the Sea. It was created through paintings, by a master painter.
There are only two characters, the Old Man, and the Boy who wants to be his
The story is very simple in itself, which makes it worth the time even more.
The Old Man goes out to fish, telling the Boy that he can't join him, because he
is unlucky -the Old Man has not caught a fish in months, and the Boy deserves
more than a down-on-his-luck master.
The Old Man goes out before dawn, so that the rising tide will help him come
in when he is tired. He waits, and as the sun is rising, a small fish
catches his line. He reels it in, and uses part of it as bait. He
catches a larger fish, a massive one, and spends the next full day trying to
reel it in. The battle is a long one, where both Man and Fish tire, rest,
then continue the struggle afterwards. The man also eats the rest of the
small fish he had caught.
When the Man finally brings it close enough to harpoon, and ties it to his
boat (it is too large to fit inside), the gigantic fish is attacked by sharks. The fish
is completely eaten by the time he makes it back to shore. But the
villagers, especially the Boy, stare in wonder as they find the bones of the
fish tied to his boat. The old man won his self-respect, and that of the
village, back again.
But the real beauty lies in the artwork. I was completely amazed by
this artist. Through wide brush strokes, he made the scene come to life,
with bright colors, light textures, and mostly light blues and off-whites.
Part of the joy was in realizing that this was an animation, unlike so many
animated movies, which try to be lifelike. The facial features, as well as
the rest of the animation, were never quite consistent. It was more like
watching a flip-book than a cartoon. Awesome.
In any case, the story was really beautiful in both the artwork and in the
simplicity of the tale. The voices were just perfect for the parts.
The Boy was enthusiastic, and the Old Man, who also narrated throughout, as if
from a journal, was calm, controlled, and had a very soft voice -somebody you
could automatically trust. I was