The Old Man and the Sea (1999)

This short film is animated in an extraordinarily beautiful and fascinating style. Over the course of two-and-a-half years, a team under (and including) the director,Russian director an animator Aleksandr Petrov, manipulated oil paints on sheets of glass, to create what comes out to essentially a series of animated oil paintings constituting a film. It’s absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Even setting aside the jaw-droppingly gorgeous visuals, it’s a well-made adaptation. The voice actors deliver good performances, the music is stirring and suits the story well, and the story itself is adapted economically in such a way totally in keeping with Hemingway’s style. But the visuals are the key here. The two-and-a-half years spent to create these twenty minutes of film were absolutely well-spent. Any still frame from this film would make a gorgeous painting, but there are hundreds of them here. Watching the film, I felt like a glutton gorging myself on a feast of beauty. It’s truly incredible.


I give it five oil paints, and a giant marlin.


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