It is another miserable day outside, COVID restrictions are in full swing, and there is not much going on. But turn that frown upside down, because there is some gold to be mined in the deepest depths of Netflix, if you are keen to seek it out.
If you are stuck for something to watch, or you fancy something a little different, I suggest you turn your attention to a new animated short which has just arrived on the streaming service. The short – which runs to around 9 minutes in length – is called Canvas, and it is rather good.
You may have to search for Canvas, as it is unlikely to pop up amongst the usual recommendations (it certainly didn’t appear amongst my ‘suggestions’ list), but it is worth your time. This is a beautiful piece of animation about working through loss, and comes from writer/director, Frank E. Abney III.
Canvas marks Abney III’s directorial debut, however, he has a long list of animator credits which include the likes of Frozen (2013), Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), Coco (2017), and Onward (2020), to name but a few. He is also an animator on the forthcoming Disney-Pixar movie, Soul, which arrives on Disney+ on Christmas Day.
The reason I mention the director’s Disney connection, is because Canvas has all the hallmarks of a Disney-Pixar short. It is well put together, gorgeous to look at, features sublime animation, and perhaps most important of all, it is heartfelt.
For those unfamiliar with Canvas, which I am guessing is most people, the short tells the story of an artist and widower, who has lost his passion for painting since the death of his wife. The thought of picking up a brush seems to hold little meaning, and he feels lost, directionless, and far from creative.
But during the course of the story, the artist is able to reconnect with what he has lost. And although he knows life won’t be quite the same moving forward, he is able to approach the next stage of life, one brushstroke at a time.
Although Canvas is a story of bereavement, and it may stir a tear from some audiences, it is not a depressing tale. This is an uplifting story, which highlights there is always light at the end of a tunnel – something we all need to hear in 2020.
As highlighted above, this is also an expertly animated picture. It is clear that this film comes from someone who understands animation, is experienced in telling stories, and is able to get to the heart of the tale.
Canvas will take you less than ten minutes to watch (less time than it took me to write a few words about it on this blog), but I recommend you check it out. Similar to If Anything Happens I Love You, which I reviewed last month, Netflix is delivering some animated gems which offer a nice change of pace from feature-length stories, and Canvas is certainly one of them.