Time for some ambitious animation cinema from Italy, from director Alessandro Rak, the brand new Yaya E Lennie – The Walking Liberty, that premiered at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival this year, and had a limited theathrical run as an event screening here in Italy.
Produced by neapolitan studio Mad Entertaiment and animated in 3D CG via Blender, the movie follows the titular duo, a crafty girl and a gentle giant with the mind of a child (a direct reference to Lennie of Mice And Men) that travel this post apocalyptic jungle world with a free spirit, living day by day in a world where aside from the dangerous but free jungle also roam soldiers of the Institution, a military regime clinging to a fascist sense of order in a world newly remade primeval, and bent on bringing civilization at any cost to everyone everywhere.
It’s a children enviromental fable about the importance of freedom in spite of poisonous “progress”, and all that it entails, and it’s a pretty good one, it concedes to some of the animated children movies staples with a proud neapolitan angle, but also doesn’t really pull punches on the matters, uses a good amount of cursing, and also the Chaplin monologue at the end of The Great Dictator. So it’s definitely not pandering itself to toddlers, and manages to earn what it wants to represent, instead of just assuming it can without the actual work.
The characters are quite likeable, the art direction it’s great, there’s even a few lines that will get a chuckle out even the older kids, the story it’s solid enough, the only gripe it how the animation still has that issue with most 3D CG, as in it feels very robotic and “laggy” at times. Even so, it’s good work.