Shaun Tan 'The Lost Thing'

Sunday 10 March 2013

All screenshots taken from the film of Shaun Tan's 'The Lost Thing'

One of the modules I'm taking this semester has some of the best reading material I've come across in my degree so far. 'Text, Art & Performance' is a little more interdisciplinary than some of the other modules (which appeals to my distracted brain) and despite missing a lot of it due to illness I've found the material really interesting and for a change, I'm looking forward to catching up. Last week's subject was Shaun Tan's illustrated book 'The Lost Thing', alongside the animated short film based on it and his essay on illustration within literature. It's an interesting take on the idea of images in literature, something that was previously quite commonplace but has now been relegated to children's books or specialist interests like graphic novels. It's something that I explored during my extended project during my Foundation and during my A level, and will most likely form part of my dissertation now too, if I can get it to fit. 

'The Lost Thing' is sad, funny and sweet, and despite the fact that the narrative is a fairly common one, I found it really magical. Some of my screenshots from the film helped me see more little details I'd missed the first time round, too - particularly signage which is quite easily missed at the pace it's shown at. Little perspectives on consumerist culture and the constant striving for new and more, but the stagnation and lack of individuality that this sometimes leads us to. I'd recommend a watch if you can get hold of a copy (trailer here) - aside from Tan's beautiful storytelling and Tim Minchin's narration, the rest of the team did a fantastic job in animating the story (the sound design is particularly special. The bells of the 'thing' are wonderful). Also, if you watch the film, keep an eye out for some of the book titles. Tan actually produced my favourite, 'What Miscellaneous Abnormality is that?'.

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