“The Spine” by National Film Board of Canada

  • ©Christopher (Chris) Landreth  National Film Board of Canada



    The Spine


Company / Institution / Agency:

  • National Film Board of Canada


    Dan and Mary Rutherford, after 26 years of marriage, sit in a couples’ group counseling session. Dan has no spine and therefore cannot stand up to the bullying of his sphere-shaped wife. But then Mary leaves him, and Dan begins to grow an exoskeletal backbone and other strange, beautiful growths. What has happened? Can he continue to grow, or will he revert to his former self when Mary returns?

    We observe their troubled relationship through the eyes of Angela, who looks for a redemptive example in Dan’s transformation and struggle, and who discovers, along with us, empathy for the tragic frailty of human relationships and the twisted compulsions of love.

    This animated short film drama is the latest innovative offering from Chris Landreth, arguably one of the most imaginative filmmakers working today in CG animation. In his acclaimed work “Ryan”, he pushed the boundaries of the animated documentary. Now, in “The Spine”, he presents us again with a film that challenges our definitions of computer-animated storytelling. Using a wide range of CG imagery ranging from photorealistic to painterly, “The Spine” plays with our preconceptions and stereotypes, introducing us to characters who may repel us at first but come to evoke a surprising range of emotions from the absurd to the sublime. “The Spine” is a daring animated film that uses a highly original aesthetic to delve into the darker side of human psychology.


    Maya 8.5, Houdini Mantra 9.1

Additional Contributors:

    Director: Chris Landreth

    Producers: Steve Hoban, Marcy Page

Animation / Video Overview: