“As if the Sea should part”*

*Emily Dickinson

I have been regularly watching Studio AKA’s animated version of “Lost and Found”, based on the children’s book by Oliver Jeffers, since it was first aired on television at Christmas 2008. I jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen today, when it was shown at the BFI Southbank. Director Philip Hunt and producer Sue Goffe were on hand to take questions from the audience.

On the Redshift site, Drew Turner has written:

“Among the most difficult elements to animate are hair, water, and anything else comprising near-infinite individual particles or strands, each with its own mass and affecting the way every other piece behaves.”

Hunt acknowledged that the water which features so importantly in “Lost and Found ” could be much more easily animated with the progress there has been in technology since he made his film ten years ago. However, he says with justifiable pride, “it is what it is”.

In a 2015 interview for Wired magazine, Hunt explained how the team developed the story for small children:

” “We made great strides with a fantastically dramatic storm. We pushed the scare scale up to about nine.”

This is when they started to hear voices of dissent– voices that were saying it’s too scary and there wasn’t adequate adult supervision in the Boat. To counter this, says Hunt, “we told a huge lie. We told them it was all a dream.” ”

Therefore no call for a life jacket. We are surely now in the realm of metaphysics.

Andrew Marvell’s poem “The Garden”, which has been described as a neo-Platonic Garden of Ideas, was published posthumously in 1681. The sixth stanza speaks of,

“The Mind, that Ocean where each kind

Does straight its own resemblance find;

Yet it creates, transcending these,

Far other Worlds, and other Seas;

Annihilating all that’s made

To a green thought in a green shade.”

In the next stanza, Marvell compares his soul to a bird,

“Casting the body’s vest aside,”.

To my modern and frivolous ear, it’s but a short glide to the 1961 poem by Philip Larkin which he himself once called a “silly poem about nighties”: “The Large Cool Store”. In it he writes:

“………………………………..To suppose

They share that world, to think their sort is

Matched by something in it, shows

How separate and unearthly love is,”.

If you haven’t yet seen “Lost and Found”, I owe you a spoiler alert: the penguin was never lost; merely lonely.

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