Times were simpler. Colors were vivid. Creators envisioned things. I always wish I existed back then; the real times I may call; to have a firsthand experience of watching the magic of a true creation unfurl before my eyes. Sometimes, I feel I belong to an era in cinema that dissolves itself in complete awe and admiration of works from the real times. We emulate. We recycle. Maybe we haven’t mutated yet. Of course we are now a step up in technology. We have sharper colors; sharper images and extreme realism in presentation. We build great things. But we build only on top of the standards that we didn’t set. Animation is never the same again. Since the Pixar Revolution, we are being brought closer and closer to humanly expressions. The line between fantasy and reality is blurring sooner than we think. And since the inception of high definition, colors in the picture are exactly what we see in real world but not what we wish to see. Somehow, I feel the vividness and the exaggeration created through Technicolor is still fresh to the eye. I could watch those pictures over and over and never get tired. They are like paintings drawn from inspiration and not mere emulation. It reminds me all the time that cinema is an entity separate and far from reality and that which should not be reached. It should just stay as the magic on screen. Only exaggeration can make it possible. And cartoon from the Technicolor age, in all essence, is magic.
The Old Mill is pure nostalgia to me. As a kid from the ’80s who watched cartoons on national television every Sunday evening, I had a huge collection selectively recorded on a cassette in long-play mode so that I could have a 6-hour non-stop fun anytime I wanted. The Old Mill was in it. It’s a beautiful 9-minute tale of an old windmill that serves as a haven for birds and little creatures. A sudden storm strikes upon the mill creating rampage all around. The endangered inhabitants in overwhelming fear try to desperately cling onto their lives. Do they survive the storm? Does the battering windmill endure through the destructive force?
While the storm scenes put alarming fear in your mind, it’s the expressions of those little birds and creatures that suffer plunge straight into your heart. Nature destroys at will. We can’t strike back. We can only try to endure. Such is its omnipresence. The Old Mill portrays that aspect through sublime film-making. There’s no dearth of humor, especially when the frogs in the pond conduct their own croak symphony before the storm strikes. And my favorite is the sleepy, nonchalant owl that fumingly scoots over every time water trickles over its head. This plasters a smile on my face every single time.
The Old Mill exemplifies a global film – a magic that can capture your imagination with a globally relevant theme and great power of expression. The astonishing thing is it takes only 9 minutes to become a timeless classic.