A scene from TALES OF THE NIGHT, directed by Michel Ocelot for StudioCanal.

Tales of the Night (2011, Michel Ocelot)

Tales of the Night is a visual masterpiece. It’s computer generated silhouette animation, usually two dimensional (though director Ocelot does branch occasionally into the third), about what seems to be a futuristic theatre company. Late one night, two young actors (and costume designers and writers) and the guy who seems to be their director, sit and adapt a bunch of fables and folk tales for the stage.

Except the stage is never clear-the viewer just sees these adaptations as part of the film; one of Night‘s major failings is the lack of emphasis on the actors. Its other major failing is related-the female actor invariably takes the backseat. Even when she protests she hates a role… she has to do it. Even when she says this role will be her strongest, it’s not. The boy-in the fable-is always the hero.

Ocelot keeps misses his chance to do something interesting with a female protagonist in a fable; by the last one, it’s more annoying than disappointing.

The fables involve a werewolf in Burgundy, an African one, a Caribbean one featuring the afterlife (sort of), a Tibetan one, one about the Aztecs (or Mayans). The final one is just a standard fairy tale. I may have forgotten one, but I don’t think so.

The African one might be the best, though the Caribbean one is hilarious. They’re all often touching. The stumbling starts with the last two.

Still, Ocelot makes a magnificent film. Shame about his gender issues.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Written and directed by Michel Ocelot; edited by Patrick Ducreut; music by Christian Maire; released by StudioCanal.

Starring Julien Beramis (Boy), Marine Griset (Girl) and Yves Barsacq (Théo).

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s