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Western Animation / Ryan

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See? Trippy.

Ryan is a 2004 animated short film by Chris Landreth, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is a biography of Ryan Larkin, former animator for the NFB. Larkin was in his heyday one of the many genius animators who worked for the NFB; his 1968 animated short Walking was nominated for an Oscar, losing to Disney cartoon It's Tough to Be a Bird. However, addictions to alcohol and cocaine cost him his job with the NFB and eventually left him homeless, begging for spare change on the streets of Montreal. The short consists of Landreth interviewing Larkin at a Montreal homeless shelter.

The short is notable for its deeply odd style of 3-D animation. The people appearing in the short, namely Larkin, Landreth, and some of Larkin's old acquaintances, are represented by highly stylized, mangled versions of themselves, with pieces missing from each of them as means of representing emotional and artistic trauma.

You can watch it on the NFB's YouTube channel here.


  • The Alcoholic: While Ryan eventually beat cocaine, he did not stop drinking, which is a big reason why he's a homeless bum. He's drinking out of a thermos throughout the interview. Chris begs him to quit drinking but Ryan refuses.
  • Deranged Animation: A very distinctive style. Characters are rendered abstractly; all we see of Ryan's head is his left eye, nose, and mouth; the rest is empty space. A view from behind shows pictures playing on the back of Ryan's face that may be his thoughts. When Ryan starts raging about his inability to raise funds to make films, spikes explode from his head. When Chris asks Ryan to stop drinking, two arms emerge from Ryan's forehead and make a pleading gesture.
  • Documentary: A rare example of an animated short documentary film.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Well, since it's a documentary, Landreth animated himself, Larkin, and Larkin's old colleagues Felicity Fanjoy and Derek Lamb.
  • Medium Blending: While most of the short is Landreth's distinctly trippy 3-D CGI, Ryan's trip to the Academy Awards is represented with Clip-Art Animation, Terry Gilliam style.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: Ryan, about Ryan Larkin.
  • No Fourth Wall: The cartoon begins with Chris Landreth addressing the camera directly.
  • The One That Got Away: Ryan seems to feel that way about Felicity Fanjoy. Notably, when he says "we should have had children", his mostly missing head fills in nearly all the way.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Chris Landreth interviews Ryan Larkin.
  • Stock Footage: Clips from Walking and some of Larkin's other animation from his days at the NFB.
  • Toilet Humor: Starts with the sound of a flushing toilet. Landreth chose to start the film with his animated avatar in a grungy bathroom.