734. Father and Daughter – Michael Dudok de Wit

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SUMMARY: A father says goodbye to his beloved daughter before departing on a boat. Seasons change and the daughter gets older but she never loses her longing for her father.

WHY IT’S HERE: Michael Dudok de Wit’s extraordinarily moving ‘Father and Daughter’ quickly became one of the most famous and acclaimed shorts in animation history, winning both the BAFTA and Oscar for best animated short. It is not hard to see why, for even as the narrative is vague, the depth of emotion displayed in this disarming piece is unbelievable. The story charts the departing of a father and a young girl’s growth into a woman as she continually returns to the place where he left her to wait for his return. Whether the leaving of the father was symbolic or real is never confirmed, neither is their eventual reunion definitively real, imaginary or spiritual. The details are kept deliberately ambiguous and, as a result, ‘Father and Daughter’ is touching to different people for different reasons. The beautiful depiction of the changing landscape of the Netherlands is rendered in browns, greys and sepias and though a melancholia hangs heavy, ‘Father and Daughter’ is never depressing. The deeper themes that de Wit explored in ‘The Monk and the Fish’ are expanded upon with great subtlety here but the humour of that short is gone, replaced with a dramatic poignancy that easily rivals the most moving live action films. de Wit confirmed himself as a new master of the medium with this masterpiece and walked away with an armful of awards.

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