Saturday, August 1, 2009

French Animation

France is well respected for its animated films. According to Issue 98 of 3D World Magazine in 2007, France's school Supinfocom is ranked number one for most number of student films showing at key international film festivals.
It's ironic that I could not find a detailed history of France's animation industry. So instead of making the usual timeline, I'm just going to write about French movies I've seen.

1998 Kirikou et la Sorcière (Kirkou and the Sorcerer)-directed by Michel Ocelot. This one I saw in my French class. That class was actually pretty intense, at least for me. So I was really glad my teacher gave us a break and showed us this film. The story takes place in West Africa, where a young boy named Kirikou rescues his village from the evil sorceress Karaba. Some parts were random and peculiar, but I loved it overall. It's lush with colors and stylized drawings got me hooked, and the story is so surreal, a visual folk-tale.
2003 Les Triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Bellvile)-directed by Sylvain Chomet. The film is about an old Portugese emigrant woman named Madame Souza searching for her grandson Champion, who was kidnapped by mobsters in the famous bike race Tour de France. Mme Souza and her dog Bruno follow the mobsters into the city of Belleville (Beautiful city), which ironically is not beautiful at all and is actually filled with grotesque and obese people (the corpulent statue of liberty holding a hamburger obviously tells us that Belleville portrays the United States in a satirical fashion)
This Oscar Nominee caught my eye the moment I saw the commercial. I was attracted to the brownish tinge in the colors, it gives the environment an eerie antique feeling. I thought it was interesting how all the characters are heavily caricaturized, though I did think it too grossly exaggerated.
2007 Persepolis- based on Marjane Satrapi's biopic graphic novel of the same name. During studyhall I went with my friend to watch it in her AP french class (teehee). Marjane Satrapi also co-directed the film adaption with Vincent Paronnaud, so the film emulates the novel's original style and stays true to the story. Persepolis tells of a young girl who comes of age when her country is in turmoil during the Iranian Revolution. I really loved how this film visualizes Marjane's point of view, expressing how some Iranians feel about the changes in their country. Sniff. It's beautiful.
2007 Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis (Even Pidgeons Go to Heaven)- this Oscar nominated short, directed by Samuel Tourneux, is about a priest who tricks a miser to pay up all his money to get a glimpse of heaven. The miser, however, does not know that this heaven is fake. I thought this film portrayed the well known French skepticism----that everyone is just plain corrupt and we're all suckers in the end.

Well, that's all the ones I saw, au revoir!

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