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Western Animation / The Boy and the World

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Boy and the World, or O Menino e o Mundo, is a 2013 Brazilian animated film directed by Alê Abreu. The film follows the adventures of a boy, Cuca, exploring the world. It was a 2015 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. It explores childhood innocence, Fascism, war between artistic civilians and a totalitarian regime, and just how beautiful and emotional an animated feature can be. It was released in the USA by GKIDS.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: In the city, Cuca and his rainbow hat man friend walk up many of these.
  • All There in the Manual: Cuca’s name is never actually said in the movie due to everyone Speaking Simlish. It’s only mentioned in the making-of documentary on the DVD.
  • Ambiguous Ending: It’s unclear whether the final scene was Cuca remembering his childhood, dying and joining his parents in the afterlife, or simply the film returning to the “past as present” narrative style.
  • ...And That Little Boy Was Me: The final two scenes reveal that both the harvester and the rainbow hat man are actually Cuca at different times in his life, making it this trope. (Or at least, that’s one interpretation of the film.)
  • Big Brother Mentor: The rainbow hat man.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cuca capturing the music bubble, the colorful musical parade, the bird motifs—a lot of the film uses this trope.
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  • Design Student's Orgasm: In contrast with the strikingly minimalist portions of the film.
  • Hope Spot: Cuca finally catches up with the train that took his father away, and it looks like his dad is getting off...but then the other train-riders appear, and they are all identical copies of each other, right down to the flute in their front shirt pocket.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: The harvester that Cuca befriends has one of these that he attempts to suppress.
  • Leitmotif: The melodies played by the bird-masked musician and the government's brass melody.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: Though YMMV if the film is set in a post-apocalyptic world, this trope is absolutely averted. The rainbow hat man rides one.
  • Parental Bonus: Many of the scenes of Cuca in the city evoke this, as he is exposed to many non-child friendly things, including bars and prostitution. Interestingly, all of these scenes are directed so that the implications will likely go over child viewers' heads.
  • Scenery Porn: The entire film.
  • Speaking Simlish: The dialogue and visible signage is this, both to emphasize the childlike view of the world and to avoid putting the story in a particular location. Word of God is that the language is just backwards Portuguese.