paperman 2Occasionally a piece of cinema comes along that reminds just why you fell in love with it in the first place. These moments are the reason why you watch all sorts of rubbish in the hope that it may have just one redeeming sequence to bring home to you just how powerful a medium cinema actually is. One recent moment for me was the viewing of the 2012 animated short from the Disney animation studios, Paperman.

A young accountant is standing on a  platform aimlessly waiting for his train to arrive. A piece of paper brushes past him closely followed by a young woman who has dropped it.  An immediate connection is made and is compounded when with a train approaching the station the air rush forces a sheet of the mans paper into the face of the girl. They hardly have a moment to connect before she has to board the train. When the man gets to his office, high in a city office block he is distracted by his brief encounter. To his surprise he spies the girl in the building across the busy street. He tries in vain to attract her attention before hitting on the idea of making a paper plane and floating it across the street so she might look his way.

paperman 1This an absolutely fantastic short. It is a mixture of hand drawn and computer animation in glorious black and white. There is minimal dialogue in the sub seven minute running time and notably no dialogue from the two lead characters. every aspect of the story has to be conveyed through the visuals. This is achieved with seemingly effortless ease. The characters display so much emotion through their expressions that the tale is conveyed quickly and efficiently.

The look of the film totally suits the tale. A mixture of greys is unusual in these days of multi coloured computer animation and it makes the film stand out from its competitors. It stood so much that it won the Oscar for best animated short film at this year’s Academy Awards. Of course every good film has a good story at its core and Paperman is no exception. The story is not anything new but the way it is executed with the struggles of the man to catch the girls attention and the addition of a magical element at the end to bring it all to its conclusion is particularly satisfying.

Paperman, with its mix of animation techniques and very strong production values is well worth seven minutes of your time to watch. Highly recommended.

John McArthur
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