Spanish graphic novelist Miguelanxo Prado turns to animation with "De Profundis," a deceptively simple and lyrical labor of love about freedom, passion and loss. Themes are brought winsomely to life by the digitization of thousands of the helmer's oil paintings, drawings and acrylics.

Spanish graphic novelist Miguelanxo Prado turns to animation with “De Profundis,” a deceptively simple and lyrical labor of love about freedom, passion and loss. Themes are brought winsomely to life by the digitization of thousands of the helmer’s oil paintings, drawings and acrylics. A hypnotic ode to the ocean that at times feels like a return to the first principles of toon art, this could resonate with festival auds in search of a gentler audiovisual experience.

Pic opens with a house built on water and a woman playing the viola. Her painter partner, fascinated by the sea, is away on a fishing boat, which is then destroyed in a storm. With a mermaid, he undertakes a dreamlike underwater journey through a series of evocative seascapes. The pleasure of the visuals, which are often still, is in the details — in how, for example, they rep the swell of the sea, and in their unfailing attention to the subtleties of light, shade and space. The format fails only with the characters’ facial expressions, at times unintentionally grotesque. Celtic-inflected orchestral score, aided by marine sounds such as whale song, perfectly complements the visuals.

De Profundis

Spain - Portugal

Production

An Alta Films release (in Spain) of a Continental Producciones, Desembarco Produccions (Spain)/Zeppelin Filmes (Portugal) production, with participation of TVE. (International sales: Latido Films, Madrid.) Produced by Pancho Casal. Executive producer, Chelo Loureiro. Directed, written by Miguelanxo Prado.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Prado; music, Nani Gracia.(cq) Reviewed at Cines Princesa, Madrid, Jan. 25, 2007. Running time: 79 MIN.

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