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Review: A one-dimensional portrait in 'Blinky & Me'

The documentary about animator Yoram Gross would have benefited from a broader perspective.

September 07, 2012|By Sheri Linden
  • Yoram Gross and his grandkids in "Blinky and Me."
Yoram Gross and his grandkids in "Blinky and Me." (Handout )

Poland-born, Australia-based animator Yoram Gross, the subject of the documentary "Blinky & Me," appears throughout the film, and yet the resulting portrait feels strikingly incomplete.

Filmmaker Tomasz Magierski's admiration and respect for Gross are clear, as are the octogenarian's youthful spirit and resilience. But like "Life Is Strange," another recently released Holocaust-themed doc, this is more an illustrated talk than a cohesive nonfiction work.

Magierski assumes a familiarity with Gross' productions, the most well-known of which is TV series "Blinky Bill," based on children's books about a mischievous koala. Although he includes snippets of that and other work and a cursory career overview, the director is concerned mainly with Gross' teen years as a Jew in occupied Poland.

Gross relates the experiences of displacement and escape from the ghetto — his sole possession the harmonica he still plays — onscreen to his grandkids during a visit to his hometown, Krakow. Among the movie's excellent selection of archival stills is a photo in which his parents' storefront is visible behind a Nazi rally.

The astute camera work, most effective in the reunion that closes "Blinky & Me," captures lovely interactions between Gross and his grandchildren, a happy rebuke to the destructive forces of the war. A better sense of proportion, though, would have scaled back the kids' point of view. And a step outside the family could have lent perspective to Gross' achievements in film and television.


"Blinky & Me." No MPAA rating; in English and Polish with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes. At Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena.

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