Paperman, by Disney

I was delighted to discover the last Disney short film, Paperman, which was released to the public a few days ago. Almost completely in black and white, with a hint of red, this animation a small gem of directing.

If I may try myself at a analyzing the image, notice how the light is used to support the story.

The guy is lit according to his mood: a strong but soft rim light when he is happy, a dim and dull ambient light at work, a strong and harsh side light when the moment is intense. Notice for example how his face has soft shadows at the office, but strong shadows right before he runs. Notice too how the paper planes pull him from the shadow back into the light.

The woman is lit depending on how unreachable she gets: the more difficult she is to reach, the less lit she is. As she gets in her train, she is surrounded by shadow. Similarly, when she is seen from the window, the whole building is bright, drawing attention to her, but the room is still dark as she is unreachable. As the paper planes get closer, she gets more and more light. When she passes the door, she gets back in the shadow.

Of course when they reach each other and finally meet, they both are in the light.

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