The same way a cinematic image can render visually feelings and ideas that words could never describe, animation can take those visuals to another level of creativity. A wonderful example of inventive visual storytelling is “In a Heartbeat,” an animated short by two film students that perfectly captures the feeling of love at first sight — and it happens to be between two little boys.
A wordless romance that proves love follows no rules, “In a Heartbeat” begins with a ginger-haired protagonist who spies a cool and perfectly coiffed boy sauntering effortlessly outside his school. Try as he might to hide his feelings, his exuberant heart cannot contain its joy at the sight of this fine young specimen, literally flying right out of his chest and into his love’s waiting hand. Mortified, the boy must try and wrest his heart back from the boy of his dreams without letting on his true feelings. It’s as perfect a metaphor for love as any of the great film romances.
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Most impressive, though, are the young filmmakers behind the charmer. Beth David and Esteban Bravo are students at Ringling College of Art and Design, but their skills could stack up against any of the animators working at Pixar these days. The LGBTQ topic, unfortunately, is not one we’re likely to see from a major studio anytime soon. Which is precisely what makes “In a Heartbeat” so special.
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