Ryan brings to life the story of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin, who produced some of the most influential animated films of the early 1970s. In this Oscar winning short film, celebrated director Chris Landreth uses a hand-... more »animated, three dimensional technique he calls "psychological realism" to tell Ryan's story. Today, Ryan Larkin lives on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal, Canada. This film explores Ryan's early works and asks how an artistic genius could follow such an unfortunate path.« less
BlaskoFilms | Coon Rapids, MN United States | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes we meet people on the fringe, people who do not subscribe to society's dominant rituals, people who may be addicted to any number of illegal stimuli, but in the face of more pervasive delusions find themselves consistently sober and lucid. They are often artists, or recluses, or both. Sometimes we admire them. Sometimes we are inspired by them. Sometimes they give us a sense of liberation, promise and hope. Sometimes they send us warning of places we shouldn't go.
Chris Landreth has made a remarkable film about himself and Ryan Larkin, about two vibrant souls in various stages of burning. It's about the process of animating life, about creating art and about living on the cusp of madness and reality. It's a truly remarkable film, completely deserving of its Academy Award.
The film alone would be worth the price of admission, but the documentary, Alter Egos, is included, and it is equally brilliant. In it, you'll learn more about Ryan, more about the history of the National Film Board of Canada and more about the genius of two men at the center of this work. Also included are additional short films from both artists, as well as commentary tracks. It's a great package, and hopefully it will inspire you to seek out more of the work of the NFB. "
Ryan and much much more
Geoffrey Dewan | Los Angeles, ca. USA | 07/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I happened to get tickets for the special screening of Academy Award nominated animated shorts in February this year. When "Ryan" got the Oscar the next month it was no surprise- the film, about the animator Ryan Larkin, was so far beyond the other entrants there was kind of a collective gasp and a stunned silence followed by wild applause in the theater when it was shown. Ryan Larkin did some remarkable breakthrough animation in the 60's and early 70's and Chris Landreth (The DVD also has early Larkin and Landreth films on it as well)animated an interview that he did with him thirty years later. The concept and designs are visually stunning, pushing computer graphics to the edge of what is possible right now (Landreth is an engineer who went to work for Alias software as a creative consultant)and the depth of psychological truth illustrated with those techniques lift this to the status of pure art. It will take your breath away. "
F. A. Kronyak | St. Petersburg, FL United States | 12/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I stumbled upon 'Alter Egos', Lawrence Green's documentary about Landreth and Larkin and the making of 'Ryan', on the Independent Film Channel a few weeks ago. Prior to that I was completely unfamiliar with both of these men.
Each of them has his own distinct animation style and yet you can see the profound influence Larkin's work had on Landreth. But the most affecting aspect of both 'Alter Egos' and 'Ryan' is the personal effect Larkin has had (and continues to have, it seems) on Landreth's psyche! There's a very strong sense of 'There, but for the grace of God, go I' in Landreth's attitude toward Larkin and it's quite potent.
At a mere 13 minutes long, 'Ryan' is a truly fascinating piece. Judging on visual style alone, this film earns its 5-star rating. Add to that a rather brilliant concept and truly affecting content, and you have what most would consider a perfect film.
In addition to 'Ryan', the DVD contains 'Alter Egos', Green's absorbing and informative documentary, as well as 3 Larkin pieces, all of which are quite wonderful. While watching them, the heart slowly breaks to think of what's become of such a talented man. It also contains two other really interesting Landreth pieces: 'the end' and 'Bingo'. Landreth is one of the very few CGI animators who have managed to break through the sterility of computer animation and come up with work that's truly artistic and emotionally affecting. (WARNING: Those of you with an inherent fear of clowns might want to have some smelling salts at hand while watching 'Bingo'.) All of the pieces on the DVD have directors' commentary tracks available and Larkin's commentaries on his pieces, in particular, are quite fascinating.
All in all, this is an incredibly rich package! Getting all of this material for the cost of a single DVD borders on petty thievery. For anyone with more than a glancing interest in animation, this is one of those 'definitely must haves'."
A Mini-Masterpiece Worthy of Everyone's Attention
Jeffrey Crayton | Dallas, TX | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I fell into this film quite by accident. How fortunate for me. Oh that I had a fraction of the insight, talent and brilliance Landreth has shown here. Buy it, watch it, think about it and then watch it again. You will be amazed at the art and animation, and you'll be equally moved by the novel ways in which Landreth depicts the scars of the human journey."
E. V. Tucker | Dallas, Texas | 03/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of animation or documentaries, this video is for you. Ryan's story is endearing, sad and fascinating - he is so strange and quirky, and its clear there is still something deep and worthwhile in what seems to be a "shell" of the man.
Beyond that, the animation is incredible - truly a talented artist at work here. I would love to see more."