HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Princes and Princesses Let's imagineBuy this film here.
Year: 2000
Director: Michel Ocelot
Stars: Arlette Mirapeu, Philippe Cheytion, Yves Barsacq, François Voison
Genre: Animated, Science Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the grand tradition of Lottë Reiniger this charming French portmanteau animation recounts classic fairytales using cut-out animated silhouettes. Each tale opens with a prologue set inside an old movie theatre wherein young male (Philippe Cheytion) and female (Arlette Mirapeu) actors-cum-animators and their elderly mentor (Yves Barsacq) programme elaborate hi-tech devices to think up stories, costumes and music for the plays that they then perform, assisted by a supporting cast of supposedly programmable robots.

In the first story, “La princesse des diamants”, a young prince must retrieve an array of missing diamonds lying somewhere in the grass in order to free a princess held captive inside a secret palace. Many other princes have tried before and should he fail, the prince risks sharing their fate being transformed into an ant. Then the second story, “Le Garcon des figues” finds a young boy gifted with a magical fig tree. He presents a fresh fig to the beautiful Queen Hatshepsut who finds it so delicious she rewards him with ten gold and ten bronze coins. Thereafter the boy brings her another fig every day, each more scrumptious than the last, as his rewards grow more and more extravagant. The jealous royal steward does his best to see the boy comes to a nasty end, but his cunning ruse backfires spectacularly.

“La sorcière” concerns an “abominable” witch who lives inside an impregnable fortress. The King offers his daughter in marriage to whomever can rid him of this monster. A simple farm boy resolves to accomplish this task and endures the taunting of the local peasantry while watching prince after prince fail to breach the lair of the masked witch. Cannons and battering rams fail as her pet dragon regurgitates their cannonballs. Special defences combat fire and elevate her castle a few hundred more feet to elude their battle towers. Eventually the boy gets inside simply by knocking at the witch’s door and asking politely! After touring her realm of mechanical wonders, he politely declines the king’s offer and marries the beautiful and perfectly nice, young witch.

“La Manteau de la vieille dame” takes place in 19th century Japan wherein the intricate visuals mimic engravings by the celebrated artist Katsushika Hokusai. An elderly widow named Oiko is targeted by a crafty thief who offers a piggy-back ride back to her house, then threatens to leave her in the woods unless she hands over her valuable coat. But the old gal is exceptionally strong. Refusing to loosen her stranglehold, she forces the hapless thief to carry her on an exhausting jaunt across the whole country, while she recites poetry in praise of the sumptuous scenery. Story number five, “La Reine cruelle et le montreur de fabulo”, is set in the far flung future of the year 3000. A young exhibitor spurns a tyrannical queen’s request to hand over his amazing singing alien, the Fabulo. Nevertheless he boldly declares his intention to win her hand in marriage or else die trying. Big mistake, since the queen uses an omnipresent satellite that locates then disintegrates every prince with an eye on her kingdom. Eventually, the hero succeeds by means of ingenious disguise, hiding in the one place the queen’s satellite would never think to look.

Finally the sixth story, “Prince et princesse” finds our storytellers reincarnated as a classically besotted Prince and Princess whose first kiss calamitously results in him being turned into a toad and her into a slug. Braving their mutual disgust, the hapless lovers discover repeatedly kissing only turns them into a succession of other animals.

Michel Ocelot began making short animated films in the mid-Seventies, but it was his feature debut, the African-themed Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998) that really put him on the map. Well regarded across Europe and Japan where Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata supervised local dubs of Ocelot’s work, the film was less admired in the UK and USA following curious criticism of the nudity featured therein, which was never intended as erotic and acceptable within its cultural context. Princes and Princesses was sold as Ocelot’s follow-up feature, but was actually culled from episodes of his 1989 television series Ciné si (“Cinema If”). In fact, one or two stories did not make the cut including “Icare”, a retelling of the mythological story of Icarus, and “On ne saurait penser à tout” whose plot details remain undisclosed.

Ocelot’s deft handling ensures these classic tales retain their romance and remain warm, witty and wise. Of the individual stories, “La Reine cruelle et le montreur de fabulo” is perhaps the weakest, being somewhat meandering with a punch line unworthy of its elaborate build-up, but even this retains a great deal of charming, evoking the whimsical science fiction comics of Jean “Moebius” Giraud. All the other stories are eloquent and engaging, particularly the slapstick ingenuity of “La sorcière” and the charming “Prince et princesse” which incorporates some delightful transmutations. These lead to such amusing sights as a rhino kissing a flea and an elephant balancing precariously atop a giraffe’s head, before culminating in the prince aghast to find himself turned into a princess while his beloved is quietly looking forward to living life as a prince. A neat little discourse on gender roles.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1383 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: