An elderly widower, distraught and aimless after the loss of his adventure-loving wife, ties thousands of balloons to his home and floats it around the world to settle in the exotic South American mountaintop paradise she always dreamed of visiting. (The film grimly implies, though never states outright, that he's going there to die.) Heavy stuff for a computer-animated family film, but the wunderkinds at Pixar have been pushing storytelling boundaries ever since they began producing movies in a sub-genre they damn near invented. Up also contains plenty of comedic characters and upbeat moments, especially when the widower and his clueless new Adventure Scout friend discover a strange world of talking dogs, near-extinct birds, and a vindictive former celebrity. But it's the opening sequence, a mostly wordless history of one couple's transformation from childhood sweethearts into old marrieds, that resonates so powerfully. Tonight's special screening features an appearance by actor Ed Asner, who leant his voice to the film's curmudgeonly protagonist. Asner, a renowned actor on screens both big and small, is perhaps best remembered as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and his own subsequent spin-off. The veteran performer, whose career has stretched over more than half a century, will discuss Up's portrayal of aging and intergenerational relationships. Star Tribune reporter Warren Wolfe will moderate.
Tue., Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m., 2009