The Bird and the Whale

My boyfriend and I have an annual tradition, where we go and watch the Oscar-nominated shorts at a local independent movie theater, usually spread out over a few weekends. The shorts are divided into three categories: Animated, Live Action (fiction), and Documentary. They’re usually very provocative and span a wide range in social, cultural, and geopolitical topics.

This year, when we were heading to watch the Animated shorts, I was remembering one of the films we saw among last year’s presentation. It hadn’t made the cut as an Oscar nominee (although I thought it should have), but they included it as “highly commended.”

Directed by Carol Freeman, it’s called The Bird and The Whale, and was made in Ireland by a studio called Paper Panther.

I found the story to be simple but profound and poignant. There are a lot of ways it could be interpreted. I think that it’s mainly about finding one’s voice, and that we can carry on the values and positive attributes of those who have touched our lives, even after they’ve passed. I also read into it my own animal rights perspective, which is that it represents the role of the activist in amplifying the voices of animals in captivity.

Here is the trailer:

I saw that it was available to buy on iTunes! I will definitely be re-watching this, maybe on an annual basis. It has a really unique and beautiful style that uses old fashioned paint-on-glass animation, which is now almost obsolete.

If you’re interested in checking out this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts, they’re available for rent online.