Tito and the Birds is a sweet, intimate, sweeping, beautifully animated Brazilian film. Focussing on 10-year-old Tito, a shy boy in a world of fear, it is a film exploring what it takes to overcome fear and how it can very easily take a hold on people.
After a mysterious epidemic threatens to completely take over, Tito and his friends must find a way to save the world. It does not take long for the audience to realise that this epidemic is fear itself, crippling the population and turning them inhuman. The very style of animation only adds to the sense of chaos and loneliness that Tito and the Birds is depicting with its story.
Animated with exception of the characters themselves in stunning oil painting, it is reminiscent of Loving Vincent, one of the most unforgettable and beautifully crafted animated films in memory. The sweeping nature of some scenes in this film, along with the oil painting’s natural expressionistic style, work to create a world that would scare the most courageous among us.
Where the birds come into play is its most intriguing element. Tito and the Birds explains that birds have been helping humanity since the dawn of time and the story is set off by Tito’s father having created a machine to understand the language of them. After an accident with the machine, he is forced to leave the family home, resulting in Tito’s mother becoming excessively protective over her son.
Taking after his father, Tito works to recreate this machine and is shown to have a very close relationship with birds himself. While this element of the film may seem slightly odd, it does not detract from the overall effect; and in many ways adds to its very touching message.
Tito and the Birds is a film that excels in visually crafting an idea while happening to have a well-told story in there too. It’s hard to say that any other animation style would have resulted in as good an end product and its central idea of how fear can cripple people and how we must try and overcome it is explored with great intelligence and positivity.
With some coming-of-age themes too, as well as showing the importance of friendship, togetherness and dedication, it’s a film that will undoubtedly leave an impact on an audience. Fantastical in parts, horrifying in others and entirely stunning to behold, Tito and the Birds is both an enjoyable painting and an enjoyable story. It’s therefore completely successful as a film.
Overcoming fear is increasingly difficult in modern society and few films explore this in such a unique, touching and visually striking way. This film will leave your heart feeling very full indeed.