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La Luna – The Pixar Short Of The Week

La Luna, Pixar Short of the Week, Short Film, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • November 30, 2018

Premiering at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2011, Enrico Casarosa’s “La Luna” would go on to captivate viewers worldwide when it debuted in theaters before Brave a year later.

“La Luna” continues the Pixar tradition of evoking a deep sense of wonderment, but it’s distinct among the studio’s short films for both its visual and storytelling style. The official synopsis describes this mini masterpiece as a ‘timeless fable,’ where a young boy goes to work for the first time with his family.

Bambino (boy in Italian) sets out on a nighttime voyage across the sea in a small boat with his Papa (Pixar’s Tony Fucile) and Nonno (grandfather). The three are dressed similarly in brown overalls, and Nonno presents Bambino with a matching hat like the one he and Papa wear. They both disagree on the proper way Bambino should wear it, which is only the start of their disagreements and bickering. Bambino is uncomfortable being in the middle of their squabble. The three sit in silence, totally surrounded by water and sky, waiting; for what? Bambino doesn’t know himself. The answer comes in the short’s first awe inspiring moment, when the moon rises into the sky, its reflection rippling the calm water. It’s massive and so close.

Bambino is given an anchor, and then Papa reveals a ladder that…goes up to the moon! The timid boy lands on the moon’s surface and discovers that its covered in golden stars. They fill up all the craters too.

This is the family’s extraordinary line of work. Papa and Nonno are the moon’s janitors. They’ve even got a broom shed up there. They sweep the stars off the moon’s surface, and now they’re teaching Bambino to carry on the work. As they did with Bambino’s hat, the two men quarrel about what kind of broom he should use. This time however, Bambino’s wonder and joy eclipse their bickering.

Shooting star concept art

The feeling I get when I watch “La Luna” is almost indescribable. It’s glowing with warmth, which owes a lot to the film’s use of colors and texture. Casarosa wanted to bring as much of a watercolor look to the film as was possible with a computer. The result is a stunning, as close to a painting as you’ll get in CG, bit of work. That glorious shot of the moonrise is actually watercolor! Casarosa also wrote and illustrated a storybook version, which is only too fitting considering its whimsical artwork and the simple way it unfolds onscreen.

Concept art by Dice Tsutsimi.

On Pixar’s site, this detail about Papa and Nonno illuminates one of the short’s messages even more.

“Covered by the signs of age, the two adult men’s eyes cannot be seen. Nor can they see as clearly and widely as the boy, whose large eyes are unobstructed and clear.”

Both men have lost their sense of joy and wonder. Climbing a ladder up to the moon no longer excites or delights them. And that’s one of the many things I love about this short. It champions looking at the world through the eyes of a child, where the things we’re used to, yes, even something as grand as the moon, are always new and extraordinary.

Casarosa’s inspiration for “La Luna” came from three sources. The first was his own childhood in Italy where he was often in the middle of his father and grandfather’s arguments. Like “Bao,” this short film is a magical tale rooted in the director’s personal experiences. The personal always strengthens Pixar’s narratives, no matter how fantastical. Casarosa was also influenced by Hayao Miyzaki and Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. But the boat and ladder come directly from Italo Calvino’s short story, “The Distance of the Moon.”

The crescent moons in Bambino’s eyes are not only a charming design choice, but another contrast between him, Papa, and Nonno. He sees what they can’t!

“La Luna” is Pixar’s most elegant and poetic offering to date. Michael Giacchino’s score is a lunar lullaby. The film’s sound design is also on par with its visuals. Have you ever wondered what stars sound like? The short gives us an idea with their soft clattering. And the way the giant star sings when Bambino’s touch sends ripples echoing through it – it’s just divine.

Something Enrico Casarosa said about this short has stayed with me for years.

“Trust your inspiration. You can stand on the shoulders of tradition and still find your own way.”

That’s not only true for Bambino, and of course, all of us trying to find our way in the world, but for the director, too. There’s plenty of poems, stories, and artwork inspired by the moon. “La Luna” found its way to be one of the most mesmerizing.

Tidbits & fun facts:

  • The time period is the 1930s.
  • Papa and Nonno speak Italian gibberish.
  • Bambino is on a poster in Riley’s classroom in Inside Out.
  • Papa’s thick mustache was based on Mr. Duffi‘s from Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky (1986).
  • Giacchino was brought on to score the film after a recording session for Cars 2. Casarosa told him to ‘dig into [his] Italian roots.’

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (11/20/12)

Academy Awards, Blu-Ray, Brave, La Luna, Monsters, Inc., Pixar Employees, Round-Ups, Steve Jobs

Posted by Brkyo614 • November 20, 2012

As the year comes to a close, the excitement surrounding Brave and other 2012 Pixar releases is settling down; all that’s left is the December 19 release of Monsters, Inc. 3D. Nonetheless, a few worthwhile Pixar stories have made the rounds recently.

Pixar Honors Steve Jobs: Many forget the influence of the late Steve Jobs on Pixar’s upbringing, providing essential financial support and leadership for the company up until his death. The studio’s staff, though, have certainly not forgotten – in honor of Jobs’ legacy, the studio recently erected a sign above the entrance to its main building in Emeryville, officially declaring it "The Steve Jobs Building". (Via Pixar Times)

Enrico Casarosa Unveils La Luna Statue: Following his previous tease, La Luna director Enrico Casarosa recently tweeted a first look at a maquette based on the short’s lead character, Bambino. Just 500 will be available exclusively at the Pixar studio store next month, and a wider release is unfortunately unlikely.

Amazon Lists Monsters, Inc. for 3D Blu-ray Release: A month prior to the 3D theatrical release, Amazon is already listing a 5-disc 3D Blu-ray edition of Monsters, Inc. for pre-order. No release date has been announced yet, but check back in the coming months. (Via Pixar Talk)

First "For Your Consideration" Ad for Brave: With the movie awards season rapidly approaching, Pixar is aiming to drum up some enthusiasm among critics through a new ad for Brave, recently seen in Variety. Likely the first of many, the print ad aims to net the film a few Oscar nods by reminding readers of the visceral beauty of Brave. (Awards Daily, via Pixar Talk)

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (07/11/12)

Brave, La Luna, Round-Ups, Short Film

Posted by Brkyo614 • July 11, 2012

With Monsters University still a year from release, have you been looking for more to look forward to surrounding Pixar after Brave? Among other news, some hints from the Pixar crew are teasing even more productions and tie-ins to expect from the studio in the future.

Could "Rainy City Tales 332" Be a First Look at Pixar’s Next Short?: For several months, the blog Rain City Tales 332 has been quietly recording updates regarding the production of an upcoming animated short which tells the story of objects in a rainy city. Pixar Times took notice of the blog and wrote up an excellent postdeducing that this could very likely be Pixar’s latest short. According to the blog, a formal reveal could come as soon as next week. Stay tuned!

Enrico Casarosa Hints at More La Luna
Merchandise:
On Tuesday, La Luna director Enrico Casarosa tweeted a tantalizing picture of "something special" related to La Luna. Looking closely, it’s likely an early glimpse of a vinyl figure or statue based on the main character of the short, Bambino. If so, it’s great to see Pixar’s shorts getting more merchandising recognition following the recent Bambino plush.

Merida Joins Disney on Ice: With the immense popularity of Princess Merida, the main character of Brave, it’s no wonder that Disney is welcoming the heroine to their cast of characters with open arms. Starting on August 31 this year, Merida will be skating alongside Ariel, Rapunzel, and Belle in Disney on Ice‘s Rockin’ Ever After. For a first look at Merida’s ice debut, look to the right and read the full press release at ZannaLand.

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (06/30/12)

Brave, Cars, Cars 2, Finding Nemo, Imagineering, Knick Knack, La Luna, Round-Ups, Toy Story

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 30, 2012

With all of the Brave news lately, a few small stories pertaining to Pixar’s other works have fallen under the radar. Get caught up below!

The Making of Cars Land Featurette: An impressive recreation of the Cars films’ Radiator Springs, Cars Land, opened at Disney California Adventure this month. For a better look at the planning process behind the area, including surprisingly touching interviews from Disney Imagineers, Disney released a wonderful 13-minute documentary on the Disney Parks Youtube page:

Finding Nemo Blu-ray Details + Future Pixar Merchandise: At a recent Disney merchandising expo, Pixar Times snapped a picture of the back of the upcoming Finding Nemo Blu-ray cover, outlining the special features to be included in the release. Take a look to the right; I’m definitely anticipating the CineExplore feature, a strong visual supplement to the standard DVD audio commentary.

An assortment of upcoming Pixar toys were also exhibited by Disney, and Pixar Times got an extensive look at the selection here. Brave, Toy Story, and Cars products were all shown off, and include some hints regarding the rumored Toy Story Toon, Partysaurus Rex.

La Luna Merchandise Now Available: Pixar products and toys aren’t exactly scarce, but tie-ins to their short films are a different story. However, the Disney Store has just put out a great La Luna plush based on the main character of the short, Bambino. The toy is available both on its own or with a storybook signed by director Enrico Casarosa. It’s a fantastic addition to any Pixar fan’s collection.

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‘Brave’ + ‘La Luna’ Now in Theatres!

Brave, La Luna

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 22, 2012

The long wait is over; after its announcement back in 2008, The Bear and the Bow has finally been released as Brave. Some territories still have to wait; check the release schedule here.

Directed by Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, and Steve Purcell, the film has received some mixed reception among critics. Personally, I loved the film and would put it somewhere in the middle of my Pixar rankings, despite its flaws. The movie could potentially be polarizing among Pixar’s following, but I predict a very healthy box office run.

La Luna
, on the other hand, is a modern-day classic that everyone will love. Despite not winning the Best Animated Short prize at the 84th Academy Awards, it’s one of the best shorts in recent memory. Come early so you don’t miss it!

Regardless of critical reception, Brave is certainly worth checking out. Let us know what you think!

Did you adore or despise Brave and La Luna? Share your thoughts below!

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Pixar Projection Site Reopens for ‘Brave’!

Brave, Finding Nemo, La Luna, Monsters University

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 20, 2012

Projectionists handle the last step in the process of delivering a film to audiences. Good or bad projection can make or break a moviegoing experience, so over the past few years, Pixar has been adamant about helping exhibitors provide the best projection possible for the studio’s films.

The Pixar Projection site is a part of that process, designed to explain the proper projection specifications for the film and the steps to optimally displaying Pixar’s features. Updated for Brave this morning, the page provides a fascinating insight into the projection process for casual fans. Besides that, the exact running times for La Luna (6:54) and Brave (1:33:30) are also included, and it confirms that the Monsters University and Finding Nemo 3D trailers will both be attached to Brave. Take a look here.

Hope for the best projection possible when Brave arrives on June 22!

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Upcoming Pixar Reviews ‘Brave’ + ‘La Luna’!

Brave, La Luna, Review

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 17, 2012

After a turbulent several-year journey, Brave is ready to open in the US this week on June 22. With some mixed reviews appearing on Rotten Tomatoes, some are questioning if Brave will be another Pixar hit or a clunker for the studio. Our spoiler-free verdict is below!

When one thinks of Pixar Animation Studios, their fresh and original stories immediately come to mind. Toy Story challenged common animation conventions of the 80s and 90s, the Pixar’s string of recent hits such as Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up have continued to innovate with bold new ideas. Brave has everything lined up to be one of Pixar’s most unusual films yet, featuring their first female lead and their first period story. Does it deliver on that level? Not quite. But Brave is still brimming with Pixar’s signature charm, emotion, and magic that some missed in last year’s Cars 2, making it one of the most purely entertaining movies of the year.

Brave is the story of the high-spirited Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) and her mother, the restrained Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who struggle to communicate their feelings with each other. After Merida acts out against her mother, a mischievous witch (Julie Walters) allows the princess to unleash an ancient curse upon the kingdom. Circumstances prevent Merida from conversing with her mother, and the heroine sets out to save the kingdom before it falls into ruin. The concept of communication permeates throughout Brave, measuring Merida’s development and her strength as a character, and it’s a brilliant throughline to uphold the tale.

It’s a fairly straightforward story, and despite a second act that stalls a bit, it’s done extremely well. However, it all feels familiar in a way that’s unusual for Pixar. The first act is reminiscent of Disney classics, but manages to distinguish itself; in the latter parts of the film, though, allusions to gags and story beats from movies like The Iron Giant and How to Train Your Dragon are difficult to ignore. In comparison to the refreshing originality of WALL-E and Up, for example, Brave disappoints. The real magic, however, is found in the film’s masterful execution.

Brave is by far the most ‘balanced’ Pixar movie to date. A few of the studio’s productions can get a bit too comedic halfway through and briefly lose sight of the story’s themes. Brave, on the other hand, is consistently funny, tense, and subtly touching throughout. All three acts have a solid mix of entertaining jokes, exciting action, and important character beats. Something for everyone is present in every part of the film, and Brave will certainly entertain audiences in a way that movies such as Finding Nemo achieved. The character relationships that are established early on help make every scene feel grounded and relevant to the story.

One of the strongest lineups of characters ever in an animated film truly brings Brave to life. Merida and Elinor may sound cliché on paper, but their dynamic is complex in a way that most animation fails to achieve. Merida is clearly headstrong like many ‘tough’ female leads, but moments of silliness and vulnerability make her feel real. Similarly, Elinor is carefully painted to be overbearing towards Merida, yet still showing motherly care. King Fergus (Billy Connolly) expresses admirable loyalty towards his family, and the three bickering Lords (Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane, and Craig Ferguson) manage the delicate balance of being silly and over-the-top without getting annoying. And best of all, the characters are sold through their subtle quirks and animation rather than through trite backstories.

Speaking of animation, the artists at Pixar really blew it out of the park with this movie. Scotland proves to be a fantastic setting for the film that sets it apart from any other movie to date. The world in Brave is moody and magical, but still tangible and real. The attention to detail in the environments is staggering; even the moss on the trees gently sways in the wind. The lighting is incredibly striking as well, bringing some of the studio’s most beautiful images to date to life. But more than anything, the character animation really carries Brave to another level. Merida is one of the most expressive and lively characters in any Pixar film due to her facial subtleties and striking red hair. The animation greatly deepens her character by displaying her more playful side while also enhancing the impact of her more sensitive moments. Strong poses and amusing facial expressions also do a great job of selling the film’s hilarious comedy; the physical humor throughout Brave is surprisingly effective thanks to the great animators at Pixar. The gorgeous visuals alone make Brave worth the price of admission.

Much like the visuals, a solid soundtrack and excellent sound mix act as a perfect complement to Brave‘s story. Patrick Doyle’s score, though not as memorable as Giacchino’s work with Pixar, adds a layer of authenticity to the film through inspired Scottish instrumentation. Julie Fowlis’ Touch the Sky and Into the Open Air alongside Birdy and Mumford & Son’s Learn Me Right are rather homogenous, but bookend the film well and facilitate a connection between Merida and the viewer. The real standout song, though, is Emma Thompson and Peigi Barker’s Noble Maiden Fair, a moving Gaelic tune that strengthens some of the movie’s most beautiful moments. In addition, the sound mix (optimized for Dolby Atmos) is powerful and expertly balanced throughout. You’ll do a double take every time you hear the magical sound of a Will o’ the Wisp entering the scene, and the ferocious roars of the film’s bears will make the cinema shake.

Overall, Brave might be the least original Pixar film, but it still lives up to the studio’s high standards. It’s difficult not to fall in love with Merida, Elinor, and the colorful characters that surround them. The spectacular sets and lighting, energetic animation, and rich musical score make Brave an incredibly special film. Ultimately, one has to question: if a film makes you laugh, shed a tear, and stay on the edge of your seat, is it really at fault for lacking originality? Even if it’s not Pixar’s best movie to date, does it really matter? The film will undoubtedly be a hit with audiences worldwide with its boundless appeal and beauty; even with a fairly predictable story, Brave is a winner.

La Luna: I nearly forgot that the long-awaited La Luna was set to be attached to Brave, so when the title card appeared I was pleasantly surprised. Written and directed by Enrico Casarosa, La Luna has the simplistic elegance of a great storybook with a touch of Pixar wit. The rising sense of unabashed discovery is magical, especially in a world of constant online leaks and spoilers. The 3D effects in La Luna are also some of Pixar’s best yet, enhancing the depth of an already astonishingly beautiful film. It’s one of the finest Pixar shorts of all time.


Brave
and La Luna together form one of the best theatrical experiences of the year so far. Order your tickets now for Brave‘s North American debut on June 22!

Have you seen Brave or La Luna yet? Share your thoughts below!

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EW Premieres Exclusive ‘La Luna’ Clip!

La Luna

Posted by Martin • February 13, 2012

Entertainment Weekly premiered a never-before-seen clip from La Luna along with a new interview with director Enrico Casarosa.

Pixar’s latest short follows a young boy as he discovers the quirks of his family occupation. As part of the exclusive interview, Casarosa has a lot to say about the idea’s genesis, including anecdotes from his youth.

The Oscar-nominated short has been getting a lot of buzz lately thanks in part to its limited run in theatres. At the following link, find out what theatres are playing La Luna near you.

We wish the Pixar team the best of luck at this Sunday’s Oscars.
La Luna plays in wide release with Brave on June 22, 2012.

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‘La Luna’ Nominated at the 84th Academy Awards!

Academy Awards, La Luna

Posted by Martin • January 24, 2012

Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were announced today with an honorable mention reserved for one of Pixar’s films.

Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, Cars 2 didn’t garner any nods making it the first Pixar film not to land a spot in the Best Animated Feature category since its inception. On a positive note, Enrico Casarosa’s short, La Luna, is now in the running for Best Animated Short!

Short Film (Animated)
• Dimanche/Sunday – Patrick Doyon
• The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg
• La Luna – Enrico Casarosa
• A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
• Wild Life – Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

La Luna opens in theatres with Brave on June 22, 2012!

The 84th Academy Awards will be televised LIVE on Sunday, February 26 beginning at 7e/4p in the US.

Congratulations, Enrico Casarosa and the La Luna crew!

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Catch “La Luna” in Hollywood!

La Luna

Posted by Martin • November 9, 2011

Listen up, Los Angeles: Another wonderful opportunity to screen La Luna has finally arrived!

With the re-issue of Cars 2 at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, fans will be treated to Pixar’s latest short film in lieu of Hawaiian Vacation. Don’t wait too long, Pixar’s 12th feature will only play at the famous Hollywood venue until November 20.

La Luna tells the story of a boy who finds himself conflicted between the ways of his elders as he takes to the sea with his Papa and Grandpa. Currently appearing as part of special events worldwide, Pixar’s latest short will have its wide-release with Brave on June 22, 2012.

Los Angeles-area fans can catch the Enrico Casarosa directed short at 7 PM with each daily screening of Cars 2. For tickets, visit El Capitan Theatre.

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[Thanks, Anonymous!]

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