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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

entry arrow2:51 AM | Unseen Wonders Crowding Around Us

I like the high-concept conceit of Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan's animated short film The Lost Thing [2010]: there are things of utter wonder around us, but the world -- humdrumming to the beat of bureaucracy, the rat race, conventionality, and conformity -- somehow teaches us to become blind to them, to consign them to forgetfulness. We are told this by a mysterious caretaker in a cavernous, forbidding, and bureaucratic Federal Department of Odds and Ends, where strange lost things are encouraged to be deposited: "If you really care about that thing, you shouldn't leave it here. This is a place for forgetting..." That thing is a giant ... uhm, something something, a metallic shell that looks like a diving bell with lively tentacles and a pair of crabby pinchers (with bells!) coming out of its valves. It gets accidentally found one day at the beach by the boy who narrates the story, while foraging for his collection of bottle caps. The lost thing turns out to be a friendly and playful giant, and since he didn't have the heart to leave it behind, he takes it home -- to parents who scarcely care, and to city folk which scarcely notice that there is this thing walking right among them. The film becomes a search to find the lost thing its home. Based on the popular book by Tan, the short film does a great service to the source by staying true to its whimsical pictorial invention. Its animation, too, is top-notch. But it is the universality of its story -- essentially a tale of fading and faded imagination -- that gets to me and breaks my heart. There is a slice at the end of the film where the narrator acknowledges so, and the deadpan acceptance he has of it reminds us that childhood was an Eden we had to leave, and although imagination can still abound beyond those wonder years, we succumb too much into the humdrum we don't even see magic even when it pops its pixie dust right under our noses.

The Lost Thing from AlineLayoun on Vimeo.

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