deGrasse Tyson might not approve of the astronomy, but so be it. This gentle
quest fable is a charmer and probably good bedtime viewing for little ones, so
hopefully some enterprising DVD distributor will pick it up, despite its
twenty-seven-minute running time. When the moon gets stuck in the trees only a
young boy and a lunar squirrel can save it in Takeshi Yashiro’s elegant
stop-motion animated short Moon of a
Sleepless Night (trailer here), which
screens during this year’s Winter Film Awards.
little boy is tossing and turning tonight, so his woodsman father takes him out
for a stroll to tire him out. There is no moon to light their way, so the
woodsman deduces it is hung up on the treetops somewhere to the east.
Naturally, they set out to free it, unless the “Rabbit of the Moon” does so
first. Apparently, that is exactly what happened, except he is a squirrel, not
a rabbit (as he explains repeatedly to the boy and his mother)—and he has rather
negligently let himself get left behind.
following day refuses to give way to night, because the squirrel-less moon is presumably
stuck beyond the horizon. That has rather real world implications for the boy’s
family, because his father might not know when to come home from his fishing
expedition, so the boy heads off with the squirrel to right the situation.
Moon is a wonderfully
gentle and captivating tale, whose charms are equally endearing for viewers of
all ages. It is certainly fantastical and furry, thanks to the talking
squirrel, but it also functions as a thoughtful coming-of-age story. The
deliberately woody, rough-hewn look of Yashiro’s people are still oddly
expressive and well-serve the film’s rustic woodland vibe. Yet, the forest
world they inhabit is rich in detail and lushly realized.
just leaves viewers with a contented glow. That combined with its nocturnal
sleepytime themes could well make it staple evening viewing for families.
Regardless, it is a lovely piece of filmmaking, very highly recommended when it
screens this Friday (2/24) and next Monday (2/27), as part of this year’s
Winter Film Awards.
Labels: Animated films, Short Films, WFA '17