Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beautiful, but short on enchantment

I appreciated the care that director Jean-Francois Laguionie has taken with his new animated movie, The Painting (Le Tableau). Playful and imaginatively realized, Laguionie's carnival of color is enriched by clever touches that result from its premise: Characters within serveral painings come to life. Having said that, I can't say that I totally enjoyed The Painting, which pits a quartet of characters against a rigid class system and which, alas, tends toward only intermittent delight. The Alldunns (say it out loud) are figures that have been completed. They lord it over second-class citizens such as the Halfies (half-finished figures) and Sketchies (figures that only have been outlined). Halfie Claire and Alldunn Ramo join with Lola, who has one remaining spot that needs color, and Sketchie Quill in a search to find the painter who created them. Presumably, the painter can make everyone whole, thereby establishing a climate of equality with his paintings. The version of The Painting playing in the U. S. has been dubbed into English, which I suppose makes it easier to savor the visuals, but which may detract from this French import's charm. Overall, The Painting struck me as the kind of entertainment that adults might consider good for children, which (in my mind) means that kids might be a trifle bored. Laguionie's ample creativity impresses even as The Painting falls short of enchantment.

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