Video of the Day: ‘The Looking Planet’

In days when we need to take a step back and appreciate the big picture comes a short film with the biggest picture you could imagine. Lufo is a curious boy who daydreams on the job and doesn’t listen to his parents. Except that the job is creating universes, and his parents – and he – are of a race of universe architects. Lufo dreams of doing more than making the same old rings around the same old dead planets. What’s the point of these, he asks himself. Nobody’s ever going to see them.

Lufo, already something of a rebel, chooses to take one of his own sketches and build a world based on the design. His blueprints come alive, and Lufo sees the potential unfold before him.

The planet he decides to build? Ours.

The Looking Planet¬†is a 17-minute computer animated sci-fi fantasy film designed for the big screen, and essentially made entirely on a home desktop computer. It’s an adventure across space and time, pondering our existence, life’s place in the universe, and the origin of species.

The film is written and directed by Eric Law Anderson, and features the voices of Joe Capelletti as Lufo’s father, Cindy Robertson as his mother, Peter Oldring as his brother, and Samuel Hery as Lufo himself. It has made the film circuit and earned more than 40 awards in film festivals around the world.

The difficulty of abstracting the whole notion of creating entire universes is solved by Anderson in a unique visual way, blending blueprints with astronomy, a functioning environment made of conceptual tropes for nature, physics, cybernetics, genetics and weather. Are these creatures angels? Is it the workshops of Heaven in which Lufo and his family builds their worlds? To portray a story like this one, nearly everything you see has to be some kind of visual allegory, simply to bring it into a context that human beings could understand. The result is soulful, intelligent, and frankly rather charming.

Oh, and the language Lufo and his family speak?¬†That’s kind of special too. It’s called Kaingang, and it’s a dying language spoken by Native Americans in southern Brazil. All the voice parts were originally recorded in Brazil as performed by native speakers, and were later replaced by professional performances by actors in Los Angeles, except for the voice of Lufo. That voice (Samuel Hery) is the original version.

Enjoy this delightful film. Watch it full screen, with the sound up. It’s really something.

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