In the last few years some of the best animated films have been based off of graphic novels. There has been everything from Persepolis to April and the Extraordinary World to Coraline. These novels make such great animated movies because they are both visually and thematically rich. Fortunately, we have another film to add to that legacy in the new indie animated film, Window Horses.
Written and directed by Ann Marie Fleming, Window Horses, tells the story of a Canadian girl named Rosie who is of part Iranian and Chinese descent. She grew up with her Grandparents having only known that her father left her when she was a small girl and her mother died. One day she writes an book of poetry and gets the opportunity to go and read her poems at a poetry festival in Iran.
As she participates, she comes to understand more about her life, father, family, faith, and poetry. No matter what the focus is, Window Horses never fails to feel intimate and beautiful – like we are reading Rosie’s journal and not just watching a film.
The animation feels reminiscent of Boy and the World or World of Tomorrow, but what is interesting is Rosie is the only character that is a complete stick figure. She sometimes wears clothing but the rest of the characters are more human in appearance. The backgrounds and other animation are interesting and beautiful. Also, when Rosie and others read their poems we get animated sequences from ten different guest animators. It’s a joy to watch.
Window Horses tackles a lot of topics and has characters of many nationalities and backgrounds with a variety of prejudices and fears. The dialogue felt very authentic, particularly between Rosie and a German poet named Dietmar. At times it can be devastating for Rosie, but the film never looses its hopeful tone or becomes depressing.
As far as negatives, there aren’t many. It perhaps gets a little exposition heavy at times but the accompanying artistry was so beautiful that it keeps it from feeling boring. There are also a few moments that feel preachy, but the emotions are true so they work.
Window Horses premieres in LA this weekend and will hopefully expand to your local art house theater. It’s one to definitely put on your radar.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes