Video Review

Every Child

Although videos that include multiple stories almost always contain at least one dud, that's not the case here: Each of the five stories in this National Film Board of Canada production delights in its own offbeat way. Each is fresh, fast-paced, cleverly animated, and inventively scored; as a result, adults will find as much to admire as young children will.

The title story of Every Child] centers on what happens to a baby who mysteriously appears outside a harried executive's office. He plays briefly with the baby-until it messes up some files. The man then abandons the child on the doorstep of a house occupied by an old couple. They find the baby and play with it, but their dog becomes jealous, so the couple passes the baby on, and the cycle continues. Whimsical yet poignant, this six-minute commentary on adult responsibility is a moving tribute to the sanctity of children.

The other stories include Catour, featuring kaleidoscopic images of a sophisticated cat-it wears a bow tie-whose smartly choreographed acrobatics are complemented by a flashy jazz accompaniment; The Magic Flute, a wordless allegory showing how a musical instrument can transform those who play it; and a colorfully rendered Aesop's fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. The one story with a distinct Canadian accent is also the funniest. It's Log Driver's Waltz, a cartoon full of exaggerated scenes of lumberjacks hotdogging as they ride logs downstream. Kate and Anna McGarrigle and the Mountain City Four give Log Driver's Waltz's title song an exhilarating reading. A

Originally posted Jun 21, 1994 Published in issue #71 Jun 21, 1991 Order article reprints