Given the shortness of Ian (2018), I might as well keep this a quick review.
It’s good, please watch it.
Frivolity aside, Ian is an enjoyable 9 minutes from Title Card to End Credits that is such an unbelievably deep animation and has such an emotional impact that it feels like you’ve been gut-punched by your granny in a ditch. And just like getting winded by your granny you’re going to have to take a few minutes to compose yourself afterwards as you blink back tears and ask how did this happen.
Based on a true story, Ian is a CGI animation following the attempts of Ian, a young boy with cerebral palsy, to make friends with other children. Each time he tries, his disability stops him, and as the other children realise that there is something different about Ian a strong wind blows him through a Fence back into his wheelchair as he and his mother watch the other kids play.
Look I didn’t say it was cheery. I just said that it was good.
There is no dialogue. There doesn’t need to be any. Produced by Argentine filmmaker Juan José Campanella, Ian explores the physical and emotional realities of children with disabilities trying to find friends and acceptance. It does this by forcing you to think.
He becomes a target for the children’s mockery before being blown back into his wheelchair. However, we don’t know if this is actually happening or if it’s his imagination, his fear that because of his cerebral palsy he will become a target of maliciousness. Here then the Fence separating them becomes Ian’s own anxieties and it is only when he is able to overcome those that he is able to force the children to accept him for who he is, on his terms, and the Fence disappears.
The CGI aesthetic has each character model made up of hundreds of toy blocks which again, isn’t just for show. Each time Ian goes through the Fence he loses a few more blocks, a little bit of himself.
Despite dealing with themes of loneliness and disability, Ian runs the risk at times of becoming twee and Disneyesque. Nevertheless, it keeps its course, deals with the issues and ends on a plus. It is short, however. Yet this doesn’t hinder it, the fact it probably plays to the story and aesthetics favour. It is more suited to something with an under 9-minute runtime. Anything over and it would fall apart.
Dir: Abel Goldfarb
Src: Gastón Gorali
Prd: Juan José Campanella
Runtime: 9 minute