Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Princes and Princesses

March 16th, 2009 · No Comments

When recently discussing Kirikou and the Wild Beasts, I mentioned that I princesandprincesses1watched the feature-length animation via an online stream at The Auteurs, a site which provides a glimpse into what is likely to be a major component of the future of cinematic consumption.  While the site’s design is refreshingly simple, it is the technology underneath that is truly beautiful. I was always of the mind that a DVD case with a nice booklet would never be eclipsed by a digital download. Now I am not so sure, and for rental, I am even closer to being turned to the dark side. While iTunes can provide you with DVD-quality (or now even Blu-ray-quality) picture, you have to wait for a long time (several hours even with moderately fast DSL) for the movie to download and be playable. At, the film is ready to play nearly as quickly as a YouTube video, and yet the quality is comparable to a DVD. I play the films by connecting my MacBook to a 1080p projector and digital audio amplifier, for an experience that equals that of a DVD through the same system. The quality and speed far exceeds the streaming content on Netflix. It is truly astonishing. (I am also certain that I will look back at this posting, once the technology has both evolved and become ubiquitous, and laugh at my enthusiasm.)

So what about Princes and Princesses, after all? Yet another impressive feat from Michel Ocelot and his team of animators, this time the animation style places silhouetted shadow figures on top of visually stunning backdrops.  The shadow style is incorporated into the narrative device by which this collection of short stories is told. A grandpa-like figure and a boy princesandprincesses2and girl conceive stories together and with the help of a techno-magical machine, become shadow characters which then perform them. Like the Kirikou film, each tale is a fable with a sophisticated moral or two such that instruction between old and young viewer is encouraged. (So much so that there is a one minute discussion intermission.) The simple yet clever stories along with the simple yet opulent visuals result in a film that is simultaneously slight and magnificent.

Tags: Animation · Capsule · Family · Foreign Language

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