This animated feature from Brazil is so imaginative in its narrative and visual design that I wish I liked it more. The title character is a ten-year-old boy whose scientist father was working on a contraption that transforms birdsong into energy before he disappeared; when the world is struck by the outbreak of a disease that turns people into rocks, Tito realizes he can use his father’s invention to save humanity. The film delivers a timely antifascist message: the spread of the disease has something to do with a powerful right-wing media tycoon who’s gotten rich off of exploiting his viewers’ fears of one another. It also looks like few other animated movies I’ve seen, employing Van Gogh-style oils for the backgrounds and computer-generated characters and details. Still, there’s a difference between original and good—the visuals are dim and not especially attractive. Moreover, the story works as political allegory but doesn’t make much sense on its own terms. Gabriel Bitar, André Catoto, and Gustavo Steinberg directed. In Portuguese with subtitles.
Tito and the Birds
1 hour 13 min • 2018