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Western Animation / Walking

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Walking is a 1968 animated short film made by Ryan Larkin, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is a plotless five-minute animated portrait of people walking. All kinds of people are walking—nuns, old ladies, young children, hipsters. Larkin made the short as a demonstration of human motion, which is rather similar to the 19th-century experimental motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge. For the short Larkin used watercolors, not typically an animation medium, which produced a surreal, dreamlike effect.

Decades later, Larkin's life was the subject of another NFB short, Ryan, which included clips from Walking.


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Tropes:

  • Book-Ends: The same shot of a man in silhouette walking opens and closes the short.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: People. Walking.
  • Fanservice: The male and female nudes walking are, of course, ideal forms, not old people or fat people.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Before all the shots of people walking, there are several stills of people not walking—sitting in cars, at home in apartments, waiting on a bus. The camera glides over these stills, which act in contrast to the exuberant motion of the people walking.
  • Limited Animation: Although the walking figures themselves are intricately animated, they're done against a plain white background. And then there's the sequence of stills that aren't animated at all.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: A five-minute animated study of how people walk.
  • Silence Is Golden: Since there's no story there certainly doesn't need to be dialogue.
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