So I know that this will more than likely go down as my least experimental film within this little aside on my blog, but I could not pass up an opportunity to elaborate on it after it won an Oscar last night, and since I have failed to see Argo I figured this would be far more appropriate. Last night, however, was not the point in time with which I became familiar with this cinematic wonder. Instead, I first saw it as an introduction to Wreck-It Ralph, which I enjoyed but fails to hold the narrative sway of this animated short, despite having plenty more space and time to work with. Paperman, while at first glance does not appear to be experimental, at least in comparison to what is normally mentioned within this context, one has to consider that it is very much that since it is from Disney, a company not entirely known for experimentation, aside of course from the free reign given to Tim Burton. Paperman, much like my favorite Pixar film, Wall-E, focuses on everything wrong with conforming to standards and fearing new experiences. It takes the melodramatic and uses it such a welcome way, embracing both the power of silence and necessity of sound all swelling into an invested moment that will have you sitting up right in curiosity. In a bold choice of only using black and white, director John Kahrs assures no confusion about the very clear statement existing within his film, and is sure to cement his place as a premier Pixar staple in years to come, which is more than welcome on my part, because I doubt the necessity of another Cars film. Yet even for being in black and white, the short questions the factuality of life and exists in a realm of magical realism by its closing, reminding viewers that in the insanity of existence, sometimes love and human connection still occurs if the "forces that be" will it to do so.
The film is quite simple and lacks any sort of deception as to what it is about, viewers are shown a young man and a young woman who share a brief connection, when the young man's paper flies into her face, leaving some of her lipstick on the page in the process. The two laugh, but nothing comes of it, instead; they go along with their lives. Yet, when the man sees the woman in an interview in the building across from where he works, he attempts to get her attention by flying paper airplanes across the gap, much to the disgust of his fellow employees and supervisor. When this fails and he is faced with a daunting task of more papers, he throws out convention and chases for the girl through the busy streets, and just when he thinks he has lost her, the hundreds of plains that fell to the ground begin guiding him towards her, at the same time when the girl stops to smell some flowers she sees the paper, with her lipstick on it, a coincidence to eeire to ignore. The two then return to their original location, still in silence the credits roll and they are shown engaging in a cup of coffee at a diner, and one can only assume a great future. Again, this is all animated in black and white, with the exception of the girls red lips and the lipstick mark, and aside from an absolutely wonderful composition from Christophe Beck is visually simple. The story, however, is delivered with such assuredness and precision that it absolutely moves a person upon viewing. I know it is a minor category as far as Oscars go, yet it is one of the outright correct decisions made last night and I can only imagine what kind of work we will see from Kahrs in the future, if this is anything, I would be willing to bank some possibilities on an animation revolution. Also I am rather certain it is at the very least an indirect homage to The Red Balloon.
To find out more about John Kahrs, or to watch Paperman click either of the images below.