By Jorge Ignacio Castillo
A superb animated drama that proves you don’t need piles of money or Pixar-like precision to trigger an emotional response, Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming is my favorite Canadian film from last year.
The aforementioned Rosie (voiced by Sandra Oh) is a young writer with little life experience who gets the surprise of a lifetime when she is invited to a poetry festival in Iran. It’s not entirely out of the blue: Rosie is of Persian and Chinese descent, and is curious about her absent father’s land. The culture shock is considerable, but more so the discovery of how little she knows about her craft.
An already captivating plot is further improved by incorporating traditional Iranian poetry and dollops of history. The film’s look is deceptively simple and enables the participation of guest animators for the most lyrical sequences. There isn’t a weak link in this chain: Sandra Oh’s voice acting is on point, Don McKellar as a conceited German poet is a hoot and the narrative builds up to a powerful climax.
The Canadian Crew talked to the director of Window Horses, Ann Marie Fleming, who discusses the story’s long road to the big screen and how Sandra Oh was crucial for the movie to materialize.