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The Lost Thing
Transcript of The Lost Thing
Shaun Tan sets the scene of an indifferent world, unwilling to entertain the idea of this curious amalgam of industrialized conformity and organic difference disrupting day-to-day life. The upsetting, dreary and rusted nature of the city seems to symbolize the manifestation of indifference of the unhelpful strangers, friends and parents. The LT, a vibrant creature, remains ignored by the surrounding world, seemingly without a sense of belonging, until the boy is able to extend his empathy and find the things home. Tan sends a message of belonging and societal injustice that leaves the audience questioning societies priorities.
The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan’s animated film adaptation, explores our universal need to belong vs our societal tendencies to ostracize difference. This short motion picture tells the story of crab-like teapot (the only way I can describe it), which is lost in a world of ritualistic habits, a world without time to notice the beauty in diversity. The boy, a bottle top collector, which presents a habit for finding belonging, discovers the LT and resonates with it, assuming the responsibility to find a place of belonging for the LT in this dystopian city.
Shaun Tans influential imagery and themes warns us about the power of conformity and the dangers of suppressing creativity and individuality. He delves into our sense of belonging and the part of ourselves that we hide, represented through the lost thing.
The simplistic imagery and storyline suggests a target audience of maturing primary students, but this allows Tan to focus attention on the issues this story addresses through the use of colors and themes, including belonging, alienation, conformity, forgetting and the suppression of creativity and imagination.
Tan's dark color palate assumes a futuristic dystopian city that is directly juxtaposed against the vibrant colors of the LT, as the jagged, boring outlines of building conflict with the bold personality the LT embodies. The lack of plant life and futuristic fixtures add to this effect.