Title: Tales of the Night
Director: Michel Ocelot
Original Release: 2011
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Green Mountain Film Festival opened in Montpelier on Friday night. The festival, held annually, is a great opportunity to see movies on the big screen which wouldn't normally come to our state. The emphasis is on new films from around the world, though local productions are also featured. Documentaries tend to make up a decent portion of the lineup. An effort is made to include a few family-friendly flicks.
We took in one of this year's offerings on Sunday morning, an absolute gem: Tales of the Night, a French film directed by Michel Ocelot, dubbed in English. The movie is filmed in silhouette animation, resembling shadow puppetry with black figures against dazzlingly colorful backgrounds. The premise is a simple one: a film technician exchanges story ideas with a teenage boy and girl in an old cinema. We watch their tales unfold on the screen.
There are six stories in all, taking place in various corners of the world: two from Europe, one from the Caribbean, one from Aztec Mexico, one from Africa and one from Tibet. All are high-quality and we each came away with different favorites. Our Girl liked "The Chosen One and the City of Gold,"(the one set in Mexico) in which the hero tries to save a beautiful girl slated for ritual sacrifice. My Wife preferred "Tijean and Belle-Sans-Connaitre," (Caribbean) in which a boy stumbles into the world of the dead and has to outwit the king to get back out again. I had a hard time choosing a favorite but I'll go with "The Doe and the Architect's Son," (Europe) the movie's last story. Thibault must save his beloved from a forced marriage to an evil wizard.
We're planning to head back next weekend for another film. My Wife and I did talk afterward about the possibilities in future years when Our Girl is a little older - perhaps even turning the festival into a weekend-getaway rather than just a day trip for one film. For now, I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to see films beyond the mainstream on the big screen.