________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008

cover

Come Again in Spring.

Belinda Olford (Director). Marcy Page (Producer). David Verrall (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
11 min., 50 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153C 9107 097.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.

Review by Gail de Vos.

***½ /4

   

excerpt:

Old Hark is a creature of habit. He enjoys living in his weather-beaten house set down amidst the meadows. He has wood to chop, chores to do and time to reflect on his long life. His greatest joy is feeding the birds that have wintered over and have come to depend on him.

One day, a black-robed spectre materializes out of the fields, brandishing the Book of Time. But it's too soon! An exchange follows that has the old man reach deep into his memory. Does he have the strength to find the answers he needs to see the birds into spring? (From the liner notes.)

 

This short animated video is based on a short story by Richard Kennedy. The story first appeared as an illustrated book with black and white cross-hatched illustrations which matched the gentle but grave story. The water colour illustrations that comprise the video are equally effective in setting the tone of the story but here, of course, there is action. The viewer sees through old Hark's eyes, appreciating the simple beauty of his home and the birds, as well as his anguish when he realizes just how deep he had to search into his memories. The caregiver of the Book of Time is fiendishly clever and a tad bit arrogant! It is, of course, this arrogance, that gives Hark an edge - along with the restorative spirit of the birds themselves.

      The pacing and tone of the animation complements the poetic narrative as created by Kennedy. The film quietly celebrates the important elements of humanity both in life and death.

      Come Again in Spring can be utilized in the classroom as an animated version of a short story as well as opening discussions on mortality, responsibility, and fate.

Highly Recommended.

Gail de Vos teaches at the School of Library and Information Studies for the University of Alberta and is the author of seven books on storytelling and folklore.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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