The short and the short of it: Being mindful of fear but open to hope in Far From the Tree

(image via First Showing (c) Disney)

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Parenting is tough, especially when the stakes are so high. On an idyllic beach in the Pacific Northwest, curiosity gets the better of a young raccoon whose frustrated parent attempts to keep them both safe. Far From the Tree is written & directed by American animation filmmaker Natalie Nourigat, who works as a story artist at Disney Animation (on Ralph Breaks the Internet, Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto). She also directed the Exchange Student short film as part of Disney’s Short Circuit experimental animation series. This short is produced by Ruth Strother. Featuring music by Nami Melumad. This initially premiered at the 2021 Annecy Film Festival, and also played in front of showings of Disney Animation’s Encanto this fall. (synopsis (c) First Showing)

The world, such to say, is as dangerous as it is wondrous.

Were that it was exclusively the latter – what a paradise that would be; but as a mother raccoon does her best to impart to her eager, excitable kit, danger is out there and it can kill and maim as the red scar across the mother’s face makes all too clear.

Determined to keep her child safe, she does everything she can to impart how dangerous things can be but sadly that comes at the expense of full appreciation of the danger all around, something that so hobbles her kit’s onetime sense of garrulous excitement at the world around them that they begin to quash the same lively spirit in their own child down the track.

Until, of course, they don’t.

Far From the Tree, which screened before Encanto in cinemas, does a beautifully loving, dialogue-free job of imparting how important it is that we never lose that nascent sense of wonder that envelops and infuses us as a child.

Yes, the world is dangerous, and of course, we must be careful or real harm may come to us, but that vigilance should never come at the expense of appreciating how buoyantly uplifting and magical life can be, and you are left at the end of a joyously uplifting, shell-to-your-ear seven minutes, renewed and reminded that harsh though life can be, you should never lose your childlike sense of glee and wonder at simply being alive in an amazingly exciting world that has so much to offer if you can only keep your heart open.

Far From the Tree is currently streaming on Disney+

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