Jan 29, 2015

Review: Father and Daughter (2000)

Awards season always get me in the mood for short films since it's one of the rare times of the year where they're actually talked about. It's a shame that they get so overshadowed by their feature length kin, because there are times when a three minute film easily packs much more depth than whatever ninety minute slop studios put out sometimes.

Father and Daughter is a Dutch animated short written and directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit. Winner of the Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 2000, it was famous for beating out Don Hertzfeldt's first independent animated short called Rejected. I've never seen it myself, but it apparently had a huge impact on popular culture at the time. Looks like another short that I should be seeing I guess.


Genre: animation, short, drama
Directed by: Michaël Dudok de Wit
Produced by: Claire Jennings, Willem Thijssen
Written by: Michaël Dudok de Wit
Music by: Normand Roger, Denis L. Chartrand
Running time: 9 minutes
Production company: CinéTé Filmproductie BV, Cloudrunner Ltd.
Distributed by: Crest International
Country: United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands
Language: N/A
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: N/A



A young girl and her father go for a bike ride in the countryside. Stopping at a jetty, the father boards a rowboat and bids farewell to his daughter. He never returns. As the years go by, the daughter grows up and continues to stop at the same spot, looking to see if he has returned.


There's no dialogue in Father and Daughter and there's no need for any. Its imagery and story are powerful enough to carry it through until its conclusion. The art design has this unique painted look which I really really like. There's not a lot of colour and there's nothing that really pops out at you, but that's the beauty of it. The story is what's meant to be focused on here, not the animation.

Father and Daughter has the kind of story anyone anywhere can appreciate. It's about family, love, faith, growing, up, getting old, etc., etc. Despite not having any dialogue, you can't help but be touched by what's going on and boy is the ending ever powerful. I'm sure some people will have to be ready with the tissues because of the ending. It's just that kind of short.

Some people argue that Rejected should have won that year and it's hard to argue against the impact it had in pop culture. The thing is, it's not every day that a film is as touching as FaD is. When I see Rejected one day, maybe I'll change my mind but I see Michaël Dudok de Wit's work as being very deserving of cinema's biggest short film prize.



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