WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The creator pays tribute to her late uncle, whose life, full of numbers, letters to nowhere, and drawings became her biggest inspiration growing up.
WHO MADE IT: Portuguese animator Regina Pessoa grew up in a small village in the center of the country, where she didn’t have access to a TV but learned drawing from her uncle—the eponymous Thomas. Her childhood informs Pessoa’s works, and she rose to prominence with “Tragic Story with Happy Ending,” one of the most acclaimed animated films to come out of the country, about a girl whose heart beats so loud it keeps neighbors awake at night. It was followed by “Kali the Little Vampire” about a bloodsucking boy who seeks to belong, and “Uncle Thomas” is the third installation in the trilogy, made together with her partner and collaborator Abi Feijo. It won the Jury Prize at Annecy.
WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Eccentric relatives make for the best film protagonists, and Uncle Thomas, who filled young Pessoa’s life with curious rituals and exercises in imagination, is no exception. Explored in her signature charcoal, which Pessoa inherited from Thomas, the film spirals around memories and recollections, while exploding into the pulsating reds of poppies or bonfires. “Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days” is a lyrical, yet foreboding look into an artistic childhood, and a loving niece’s tribute to the ordinary small-town uncle who was, it turns out, absolutely extraordinary.
Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days (Tio Tomás, A Contabilidade Dos Dias), 2018