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Pixar’s Loop Will Send You on a Loop of Your Own

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Feb. 24, 2020

Sitting back on a Friday evening, remote control in hand, I decided to watch one of the latest Pixar Animated short films. To me a short film is the perfect length of time (six to nine minutes) to tell a story with an exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. They are complete mini films that keep my attention from start to finish.

The short film on the queue for the day was Loop, it showed two young people in a two person canoe at a campground lake. I clicked on the play button and within the first thirty seconds, I realised this film was going to hit closer to home than previous ones I had seen.

The main characters, Marcus and Renee, attend the same Summer camp, but on this particular day, Renee’s camp counselor is unable to accompany them on a boat ride, so asks Marcus if he could take her out to the lake. With a large-screen smart phone in hand, Renee continuously plays a audio ringtone on repeat, a melody of a few notes followed by “Woof! Woof! Woof!” The camera angle is shown from Renee’s point of view where she is “stimming”, or showing a self-stimulating behavior as she sits in the boat alone. It was then that I realized Renee had non-verbal autism.

In my time away from the computer screen (aka my day job), I spend a lot of hours working with students who are identified somewhere on the autism spectrum and time and time again, I continue to reaffirm that kindness, respect, and empathy are all qualities we all need as human beings. The ability to understand another human being through creative ways other than verbal communication is a learning tool that makes us more aware of the message we send out to others without using words.

Loop tells the story of a friendship between two people who need to learn how to communicate with each other through compassion and a basic understanding of human behaviors. It is so important to show people from different backgrounds working together and finding a common ground.

When I finished watching Loop I found myself wiping back tears, but not in the same way I normally cry during Pixar films because felt they were purposefully tugging on my heartstrings to force a reaction. I was happy to see a nonverbal character represented on screen in a way that emphasized the importance of understanding and sharing feelings of another person.

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