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Western Animation / Father and Daughter

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Father and Daughter is a 2000 animated short film from The Netherlands, directed by Michael Dudok de Wit.

A father and daughter go bicycling on the Dutch coast. They stop at a bluff overlooking the sea. The father and daughter get off their bikes. The man hugs his little girl goodbye, climbs down the bluff to a boat, and then rows away, never to be seen again. Time passes, and the daughter revisits the bluff again and again. Decades roll by, she grows to adulthood, she has a family, the sea coast at the bottom of the bluff is drained to form a Dutch polder, and the woman ages into an old lady—and still she goes to the bluff, looking out into the distance for her father.


  • Animation Anatomy Aging: By the end, the woman is noticeably stooped and her once-dark hair is now white.
  • Arc Symbol: Bicycle wheels symbolizing the wheel of life.
  • Call-Back: After the credits roll, there's a shot of a spinning bicycle wheel. One of the first shots shows the wheels of the father's and daughter's bikes, perfectly in sync.
  • Daddy's Girl: So it would seem, as they took bike rides together, and she went to the bluff for decades afterwards, looking for him.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The whole cartoon is done in sepia tones.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: No dialogue.
  • The Noun and the Noun: Father and Daughter
  • Saharan Shipwreck: When the woman, now an old lady, walks out onto the polder that's where the shallow inlet once was, she finds what appears to be the abandoned rowboat her father took, half-buried in sand. She lies down on it and (apparently) dies.
  • Suicide by Sea: If one takes the action in the opening scene literally, the man does this. There is also the possibility that the whole cartoon is a metaphor for death and remembrance and the opening scene is simply symbolic of the father dying.
  • Together in Death: The ending appears to be this. The old woman lies down on the boat. She wakes, and sees something. She goes running off, and ages backwards into a young girl again. She runs up to her father, looking as he did all those decades ago, and embraces him.