The Lost Thing

Synopsis: A boy finds a strange creature on a beach, and decides to find a home for it in a world where everyone believes there are far more important things to pay attention to.
Director(s): Andrew Ruhemann (co-director), Shaun Tan (co-director)
Actors: Tim Minchin
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 2 nominations.
15 min

So you want to hear a story?

Well, I used to know a whole

lot of really interesting ones.

Some of them so funny you

would laugh yourself unconscious.

Others so terrible, you would

never want to repeat them.

Now I can't remember any of those.

So maybe I'll just tell you about

the time I found that lost thing.

This all happened many summers ago,

down on the beach.

I was as usual working tirelessly

on my bottle top collection.

At least until I saw the thing.

It sure wasn't doing much.

It just sat there with a really

weird look about it.

You know, a sad, lost sort of look.

Nobody else seemed to notice it was there.

They were all too busy

doing other stuff I guess.


It turned out to be really friendly.

I played with the thing for most

of the afternoon.

It was great fun!

But the whole time I couldn't help feeling

that something wasn't quite right.

As the hours slouched by it seemed less and less

likely that anyone was coming to take the thing home.

And soon there was no denying

the unhappy truth.

It was lost.

I asked a few people if they knew

anything about it.

I took the lost thing over to Pete's place.

Pete has an opinion on just

about everything.

"Cool," he said.

Pete didn't know what

the thing was exactly.

But he said what he always does, that all physical

manifestations could be identified emperically.

through careful observation, calibrated measurement,

and controlled experimentation.

In the end, Pete just shrugged.

He didn't think the lost thing came from anywhere.

It didn't belong anywhere either.

Some things in life are like that,

he said.

They're just plain lost.

There was nothing left to do but

take the thing home with me.

As for my parents...

I already knew that Mum would be concerned

about how filthy its feet were.

That Dad would be worried about all

sorts of strange diseases.

They both just wanted me to take it

back to where I found it.

"But it's lost!" I said.

Not that that made any difference.

I decided to hide the thing

in our back shed.

At least until I could figure out

what to do next.

I mean, I couldn't just leave it

wandering the streets.

The Lost thing seemed happy there.

But I sure couldn't keep it in the shed forever.

Mum and Dad would eventually notice

when they came out looking for a hammer or something.

It was a real dilemma.

Are you finding that the order of day to day life

Is unexpectedly disrupted?

Do you suffer from

unclaimed property?

Objects without name?

Troublesome artifacts of

unknown origin?

Things that just don't belong?

Don't panic!

We've got a pigeon hole

to stick it in.

The Federal Department of

Odds and Ends.

The next morning we caught a

tram all the way into the city.

We arrived at a tall gray

building with no windows.

It smelled like disinfectant.

I have a lost thing...

I called for the receptionist.

"Fill in the forms" - she sighed.

I was looking around for a desk,

when I suddenly felt something touch my elbow.

and then there was a tiny voice.

If you really care about that thing

you shouldn't leave it here.

This is a place for forgetting.

Leaving behind.

Here, take this.

"Cheers" - I said.

You shouldn't leave it here...

It was some kind of sign, I guess.

Not very important looking.

But it did seem to point somewhere.

Eventually we found what

seemed to be the right place.

In a dark little gap of some

anonymous little street.

The kind of place you would never know existed

unless you were actually looking for it.

I still think about that lost thing

from time to time.

Especially when I see something out of the corner

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Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is an Australian artist, writer and film maker. He won an Academy Award for The Lost Thing, a 2011 animated film adaptation of a 2000 picture book he wrote and illustrated. Beside The Lost Thing, The Red Tree and The Arrival are books he has written and illustrated. Tan was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In 2006, his wordless graphic novel The Arrival won the Book of the Year prize as part of the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards. The same book won the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year award in 2007. and the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Premier's Prize in 2006.Tan's work has been described as an "Australian vernacular" that is "at once banal and uncanny, familiar and strange, local and universal, reassuring and scary, intimate and remote, guttersnipe and sprezzatura. No rhetoric, no straining for effect. Never other than itself."For his career contribution to "children's and young adult literature in the broadest sense" Tan won the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council, the biggest prize in children's literature. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Lost Thing" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 23 Oct. 2020. <>.

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