Annecy 2021: Luca is Pixar’s Call Me by Your Name [critique]

In a postcard Italy, a minor Pixar, but touching, pretty and entertaining.

Luca, a young newt boy living in the waves of the Ligurian Sea, dreams of the surface: by befriending Alberto, another newt, they will discover that when they come out of the water, they take on a human appearance. and can live their dream of freedom – especially finding a way to acquire a Vespa, in fact. Giulia, an adventurous young girl, will make them participate in a race whose first prize will perhaps allow them to acquire the precious machine. But how to do without revealing their nature of fish? So here is the new Pixar, which is immediately placed in the “normal” category, and not that of “high concept” like Drunk and Vice versa which tackle concepts that are rarely animated (or even filmed). Luca is a pleasant juvenile adventure, which takes place in a small fantasized Italian village of the Cinque Terre, very down-to-earth, accumulating clichés through an animation that has the good taste of remaining simple, lively and carnal.

Very first degree, then? Precisely, the engine of the script – the sea monsters keep their human appearance as long as they do not get wet – and the almost loving relationship between Luca and Alberto make it possible to consider the film from the angle of the coming out movie : Luca’s parents, afraid that their child will be too attracted to the outside world, are they not considering a kind of conversion therapy in the abyss? It would be almost great, but the film stays so much in the metaphor of difference that you can actually put anything in it. If Pixar ever wants to make a film about the coming out, that they do it: that would be high concept.

Screened in preview at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Luca is available this June 18 on Disney +.

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