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John Canemaker’s “Moon and the Son” on DVD

The Moon and the Son

John Canemaker‘s 2005 Academy Award-winning animated short The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation is finally out on DVD. While Cartoon Brew readers are no doubt familiar with Canemaker’s tremendous body of work as an animation historian, his career as an independent animator is equally substantial, with his most impressive work being this deeply affecting 28-1/2 minute portrait of his Italian-American immigrant father and the troubled relationship he had growing up with him.

The DVD is a great self-contained lesson in filmmaking. It comes packed with a 16-minute documentary about the making of the film, the entire first rough cut which Canemaker narrated himself before John Turturro came on board, and two image galleries containing the storyboards and concept artwork. The rough cut in particular is revealing and shows how Canemaker expanded the dialogue and added to the ending, which both made the film more impactful. The storyboards in the image gallery are a wonderful addition, but I often found myself wanting to see the storyboards in greater detail since DVDs aren’t an ideal format for presenting still artwork. The DVD is available is on Amazon for $30.

  • Jennifer

    Despite the poor animation, the film was interesting but a little too self-pitying.

    • Jeff Kurtti

      Well, Jennifer, I’m sure your Oscar-winning short has better animation and a more upbeat narrative.

      • Ed C.

        Jeff, not being upbeat isn’t the same as being self-pitying. To me, the film was interesting but marred by the whiny, “why me?”, tone. It got to be too much for the film itself, even if it was autobiographical. So I see Jennifer’s point.

        And winning an Oscar does not mean something is better than something else.

      • Jeff Kurtti

        In the ineterst of full disclosure, I have been a fan and friend of John Canemaker’s for many years. But dismissing the animation as “poor” shows a true lack of erudition in the art form; and as a filmmaker John manifesting his own confusion, helplessness, and sense of self is hardly what I would call “self-pitying,” but rather a kind of cathartic use of the medium that is quite admirable.

        As for the Oscars, it’s funny, on this site in particular, how they go from being meaningless for things people don’t like, to the most important achievement an animation artist could wish for.

  • Robert Reynolds

    This short is actually available on the Magnolia Films DVD release of Academy Award Short Films, 2005 Edition. I have that, but I might just spend the money to get this one anyway for the additional material.

  • I really liked the animation and visual style of this short but the story gave me the uncomfortable sensation of me being in the same room with the father and the son while this conversation was taking place and not being able to leave. I felt like I was invading Canemaker’s intimacy in some way, but maybe that was his goal.