The world of Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing (2010)
The Lost Thing (2010)
Stories & Ideas

Tue 18 Oct 2016

ACMI author icon


Your museum of screen culture

A doorway home

As the door opens on Utopia it opens to a magical world of lost things. The boy and the Lost Thing step from the darkness into a bright, joyful, serene place.

In Shaun Tan's classic The Lost Thing, the light, the music, and the sound design all deliberately shift as they enter the portal to Utopia creating a tremendous contrast between the worlds in the story.

Even though The Lost Thing is entirely CG each scene has a distinct painterly feel. Shaun Tan meticulously hand painted the textures that became part of the world creating an organic and richly layered atmosphere. Every surface is worn and rusted and dirty and feels like a dark, cheerless, generic city... the way it should. The City in The Lost Thing is a place without imagination or creativity. It exists to work efficiently but not to make its inhabitants' lives better.