“Do I have a midlife crisis?”

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Lifetime Achievement Award to Rome Film Festival, director Pete Docter accompanied the new film to a press conference Pixar, Soul, streaming on Disney + at Christmas: it’s the proverbial “elephant in the room”, so it’s best to address this immediately. It will be possible see Soul in the hall, sooner or later, somehow? Pete replies: “It depends on the pandemic, we want to make sure people are comfortable watching the movie, and we like to think that on Disney + the movie will be seen by a lot of people. Of course we worked for the big screen, it may be that there will be a theatrical release later on, stay tuned ”.

Soul, Pixar also makes films for children, not just for children

Telling the story of an aspirant jazz musician who dies shortly before his dream comes true, trying to go back frombeyond, Soul raises thePixar’s ambition in the contents. Pete, in a press conference with the co-director Kemp Powers and the producer Dana Murray, faces the answer from another point of view: “Ours they are not children’s movies, we see animation as a different medium, but it’s always about convey arguments, even deep, through image and sound. Let’s say we provide you with something that looks like fun, but hides inside complex issues. ” Powers echoes him: “For me we are first and foremost storytellers, Pixar is for me a place where you can create stories that tell deep inside thehuman experience. We absolutely respect children, we know how sophisticated they can be, but we never start with children when we conceive films: we make them for ourselves, then we propose them to the world, hoping that everyone will find something beautiful in them. “
Dana recalls being amazed by the film’s proposal: “Pete’s ideas are getting more and more ambitious, already Inside Out it was hard!” (“It seems difficult because you don’t know what I have in store for next one!” Pete teases her).

The two worlds of Soul, new Pixar film

On the look of Soul, torn between the real world and the ethereal world of the afterlife, the concept of contrast for Docter guides not only style, but also the meaning of the story: “To have contrasts and oppositions it is essential, to understand a red against red would not tell you anything, you need a red on the blue background. The ethereal world exists because there is the real world, hard, not vaporous like the other. The opposition reflects who we are: body and soul, flesh and essence. ” The idea that the graphics team had to create the afterlife by focusing onabstractionism: “The imagery of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are at the center of Western civilization, but we create for everyone.”

In search of the meaning of life according to Pixar in Soul

The film talks about the “spark”, Of what the meaning of life. Powers remembers the moment a teacher told him in junior high that he was good at storytelling. Dana identifies her sparks in three pillars: skiing, volleyball and motherhood. Docter recalls the shock by looking at a flipbook of Mickey Mouse, with the sequential drawings that came alive as you quickly scrolled through the pages: “I liked drawing, but I wasn’t very good. I realized that my spark was movement. “
Given the Lifetime Achievement Award, Pete’s point of view must be deepened, also because it is perhaps at the very basis of Soul: “I fell in love with animation at eight, I started working at fifteen. Only after Inside Out did I ask myself: have I really achieved a result that makes me satisfied, complete? I don’t know if it was some kind of midlife crisis! They tell you: find your passion and pursue it because there is the meaning of life. But is it always like this? In some cases not, life is more complex. Why live? It sounds absurd to make a family film on this theme, but in my opinion with animation at Pixar we can investigate these deep themes in an ironic way. “

Soul, Pixar is in the pursuit of detail

The search for detail at Pixar accompanies the underlying inspiration: Powers explains that for the entire cast of supporting actors there are stories and pasts of Soul, even if they are never touched in the film. The singer in the subway has a story, that of the barber Dez is even in his tattoos: he says he joined the military, there are clues even on the wall of the shop, and you might not notice!
But why some specific choices? Because for example the exploration of the senses for a soul that has never lived passes through the pizza? Powers finds it symbolic and very suitable for the setting: “Pizza was the first food I remember eating as a child in New York! It’s a food that goes beyond races: if you don’t like pizza, you’re not New Yorker! ” Dana concludes: “Besides, don’t we have to explain to the Italians the importance of pizza?”


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