This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.


Ernest And Célestine Reviewed by Lisa Nesselson

A delightful melding of visual style and narrative pirouettes, Ernest And Célestine is a just-about-per- fect hand-drawn animated feature. The unlikely but eventually rock-solid alliance between gruff bear Ernest and artistically inclined orphan mouse Célestine is loaded with charm and adventure without a speck of smarm. The central characters have hopes and fears, setbacks and small triumphs to which viewers of any age can relate. This ele- gantly paced, sometimes dark and frequently funny animated treat should be embraced worldwide.

First-time director Benjamin Renner, whose

pared-down expressiveness with a sketch landed him the assignment fresh out of animation school, proves himself an excellent choice to translate the spirit of late writer-illustrator Gabrielle Vincent’s children’s books to the screen. Vincent’s water- colour backgrounds and pen-and-ink characters have a bespoke charm that is hard to resist. Renner is backed up by Vincent Patar and

Stéphane Aubier, the Belgian pair behind the stop- action delight A Town Called Panic and the antics of Pic-Pic and André. The result, four years in the making, is superlative visual storytelling. In the barracks of an orphanage run with fero-

Fr-Bel-Lux. 2012. 80mins Directors Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar Production companies Les Armateurs, Maybe Movies, StudioCanal, France 3 Cinéma, La Parti Production, Melusine Productions, RTBF International sales StudioCanal, www.studiocanal- Producers Didier Brunner, Philippe Kauffmann, Vincent Tavier, Stéphan Roelants, Henri Magalon Screenplay Daniel Pennac, inspired by the books by Gabrielle Vincent Production designers Zaza and Zyk Editors Fabienne Alvarez- Giro Music Vincent Courtois Voice cast Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner

cious discipline, Célestine (voiced by Pauline Brunner) makes drawings and listens to the har- rowing bedtime story of the Big Bad Bear. In the mouse-filled universe nestled under city streets, nothing is more terrifying than the tale of a hungry bear who eats mice. All the mice know that they and bears can never,

ever, get along. Yet smart and sweetly optimistic Célestine has dared to draw the outline of a bear cradling a mouse. Meanwhile, Ernest (voiced by Lambert Wilson)

is hibernating in his cottage but awakens fam- ished, starving and really, really hungry. Célestine escapes from the orphanage and comes close to being a snack for Ernest, but their wildly different personalities and respective talents turn out to be perfectly complementary. They both have night- mares, rendered with genuine creative sparks. Ernest is a performer at heart, but the police

confiscate his musical gear. When the duo burgle an unusual local business, neither will snitch under pressure. Episodes spanning several sea- sons emphasise loyalty, teamwork and other salu- tary values, but do so via bursts of crankiness and impatience in the face of obstacles and unfair- ness. Ernest and Célestine go up against adver- sarial forces, using their ingenuity to change the status quo. The French voice talent is superb. Perfectly bilin-

gual Wilson will be reprising the role of Ernest in the English-language dub. Vincent Courtois’ score boasts exactly the sort of melodic excellence young ears should be exposed to. Gabrielle Vincent, who died in 2000, was vehemently opposed to televi- sion or film adaptations of her Ernest And Célestine books, which spanned some 20 volumes. One suspects she would have approved of this one.


Fr. 2012. 101mins Director/screenplay Raymond Depardon, Claudine Nougaret Production company Palmeraie Et Desert International sales Wild Bunch, Executive producer Claudine Nougaret Cinematography Raymond Depardon Editor Simon Jacquet Voiceover Claudine Nougaret

France is oddly chilly despite the sound and fury the footage showcases. Early intimations that this might be Depardon’s

Of Time And The City fail to materialise, with Nou- garet content to deliver footage without much in the way of editorial commentary — the speciality of agencies such as Gamma and Magnum, which Depardon also later ran. Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti is followed by protests in Aden, mercenaries in the Biafran jungle and the tanks rolling into Prague. We also see Depardon as an agent provocateur,

Journal de France Reviewed by Fionnuala Halligan

Raymond Depardon looks back at the life he cap- tured on camera in Journal De France, assembled by his longtime collaborator (and sound engineer) Claudine Nougaret from what she calls “footage in his basement”. And what footage! From tanks roll- ing through Prague to deaths on the street of Ven- ezuela, famine in Biafra and the two years he spent in the deserts of Chad, award-winning film-maker and Gamma agency founder Depardon had docu-

n 8 Screen International at Cannes May 24, 2012

mented places and people most could only dream of long before his haunting films began to win awards — including the Un Certain Regard top prize for Modern Life (La Vie Moderne) in 1988. Nougaret, who provides the voiceover, cuts this

in loosely chronological order, interspersed with present-day footage of Depardon touring France in a camper van, painstakingly arranging his pictures of a disappearing France with an old-fashioned tri- pod apparatus. The result, for all its impressive- ness, is oddly impersonal, however, and Journal De France has a dispassionate air that will restrict it to specialist exposure outside France. For all that he looks into the soul of subjects, Depardon gives little of himself, and Journal De

making his first film about France’s then finance minister, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, as he cam- paigned for the presidency — displaying some cold cynical politicking that later got the film banned. Depardon also became involved in the kidnap of French archaeologist Francoise Claustre, racing off to join the guerillas of Chad for two years before gaining an interview with her (for which he was later charged). The black-and-white footage of the desert here is almost tangibly lustrous (Journal De France comprises 16mm, 35mm and Super-8 stock transferred to digital). Everything is here. Asylums in Italy, psychiatric

care in France, Alain Delon, Nelson Mandela, Godard, the Paris courts of justice (an amusing sequence from 2003). Depardon’s footage really is the ‘journal de France’, its keen, silent focus speak- ing volumes as ever. Here, however, more is required from behind the camera to overcome Depardon’s dispassionate manner as the film tracks his professional life. We never get a feeling for the man behind these images, which may be entirely appropriate in his other work, but here it makes a fragile pillar for a running time of 100 minutes.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24
Produced with Yudu -