According to its press, “The Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” was inspired by Buster Keaton, Hurricane Katrina, the Wizard of Oz and a love of books. Just a few short days ago, it was this year’s Oscar winning animated short. And guess what, it is a joy to watch. A variety of nicely interwoven techniques create a very unique cinematic experience.
The film was co-directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. Made entirely in Louisiana at Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, it is visually clever and literately witty. Its use of color is spot on. It is a poignant and humorous allegory about the curative powers of books. “Morris Lessmore is old-fashioned and cutting edge at the same time,” according to the propaganda from the film makers. In a year where 10 Oscars were awarded to Hollywood’s self-congratulatory past (Hugo & The Artist), is it any wonder “Flying Books” won the Oscar?
But that says it won because of timing, that isn’t true. ‘Flying Books’ is a well crafted film deserving of attention. It shows why shorts display some of the most interesting work being done in film today. Rather than continuing to pontificate on its virtues, watch it and then comment.