[MA-SOC] KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS: Five-star "Africanime"!

Serdar Yegulalp thegline at optimum.net
Thu Dec 4 19:39:43 EST 2008

Been meaning to see this for a while now. Check out the other animated productions by the same director; I hear they're all at least as good if not better.

* * * * *
Serdar Yegulalp
thegline at optimum.net

My problems have become social rather than musical.
  -- John Cage, composer

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ma-nyc-soc-bounces+thegline=optimum.net at lists.baka.org [mailto:ma-nyc-
> soc-bounces+thegline=optimum.net at lists.baka.org] On Behalf Of
> Oneirophile at aol.com
> Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 7:32 PM
> To: ma-nyc-soc at lists.baka.org
> Cc: malessio at optonline.net; dipitysprings at yahoo.com
> Subject: [MA-SOC] KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS: Five-star "Africanime"!
> Mina-san,
> Every once in awhile, I rent a film about which I know nothing at all  except
> that it looks promising.  This time my gamble resulted in an
> honest-to-goodness "find":  KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS (1998).
> KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS is the creation of animator Michel Ocelot, a
> Frenchman who spent much of his childhood in Guinea, West Africa.  It is
> based on
> an enchanting West African legend about Kirikou, a precocious  baby-hero
> similar to Momotaro or Kintaro.... I will not give away more about the  plot,
> as I
> hope many of you will rent it.  The film's  original language was French --
> and the DVD gives viewers the option  of hearing the dialogue in that
> language
> -- but the English dub is masterfully  acted and does not detract at all from
> the quality of the work.
> KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS is unique in many ways.  For one thing,  nowadays
> one rarely sees great fantasy anime/animation in which all  the characters
> are
> black.... even more rarely with characters who happen to  be native Africans.
> Disney Studios rather cynically dodged the opportunity  to fill this void,
> making all the characters of THE LION KING animals --  thus producing their
> one-and-only "African culture" opus without making  the slightest effort to
> depict
> believable African people.  (Don't get  me wrong, I enjoy THE LION KING very
> much, but I do find it rather suspicious  that all of Disney's other "fairy
> tales of the world" featured humans.)   KatS is a breath of fresh air in this
> respect.
> For another thing, the artwork is magnificently original.  It does not
> attempt to imitate Disney, or Japanese anime, or any other source.   Instead,
> the
> characters are drawn with realism and grace in Ocelot's very own  style.
> Babies look like babies -- not caricatures with giant heads  and kewpie-doll
> features.  Adults look like adults, and individual  characters are easily
> distinguishable from one another without exaggerated  anomalies in facial
> features.  As
> for the animals, they look like real  animals.  They do not talk or make
> funny
> faces like anthropomorphic  Disney furries, but instead convey their
> non-human magic with charm and  subtlety.
> The landscapes and backgrounds are especially brilliant.  Ocelot was
> influenced by the stylized "primitive" art of Henri Rousseau, and it  shows
> in his
> evocative, moody background art.  Each major scene has a  particular color
> "leitmotif" which reflects that scene's primary  emotion -- vivid angry reds,
> cool
> serene blues and greens, ethereal whites,  bleak greys, desert yellows, or
> warm brown earth tones.  In fact, one  of the DVD's extras is a delightful
> little
> "Colour Game" in which the viewer is  tested on the meaning of each scene's
> dominant color.   (Yes, the game is undoubtedly aimed at kids, but I had lots
> of fun with it and you will, too.)  Additionally, the  DVD features a mini-
> bio
> of the filmmaker which contains both art and  photos that influenced him in
> the creation of KatS.
> Another unique and marvelous feature of KIRIKOU AND THE  SORCERESS is,
> ironically, the feature which prevented the film from  achieving recognition
> or
> airplay in the American market.   Ocelot's culturally and historically
> accurate
> depiction of the West African  villagers extends to their manner of dress --
> babies and children are  naked, and adults of both genders are bare-chested.
> The
> result is  artistically beautiful, realistic, and not at all prurient or even
>  remotely sexual.  Nevertheless, the American film industry in its  hypocrisy
> feared that KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS would be  "inappropriate for children"
> and refused to air it in theaters or on TV.   (Yes, folks, this is the same
> industry which uses sex to sell  everything from cars to chocolate.... the
> same
> industry which regularly churns  out crapola like "Sex and the City" and
> "Californication", passes  them off as "groundbreaking, cutting-edge TV", and
> then
> splashes ads for  them over every subway station in the city.  :-P)
> Fortunately, the  Japanese -- who have a much more intelligent and honest
> view of
> non-sexual nudity -- loved this film, and in fact Studio Ghibli's Isao
> Takahata
> has directed Japanese dubs of this and several other Michel Ocelot
> animations.
> KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS has won at least 12 film awards worldwide -- I am
> usually skeptical about such things as film awards (whose results are often
> the  skewed by industry politics), but in this case all of them were entirely
> merited.
> You can rent KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS from Netflix -- as I did -- or
> Greencine.  (I'm not sure about Blockbuster, whose stock usually  focuses
> on....
> well, blockbusters.)  Like Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY, it is  an example of how
> great anime/animation can achieve the status of great and  timeless art.
> Your Burukkuriin buddy,
> Jill
> + + + +  + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
> ("Bidden or not bidden, God is present")
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