ERNEST AND CELESTINE
(Ernest et Celestine)
Ernest and Celestine is a film of enormous charms. Indeed, if one could take all the superlatives that were heaped on the recent Academy Award nominated A Cat in Paris (2011) and apply them to Ernest and Celestine, it would approach something near what one feels about this film only Ernest and Celestine is a film deserving of these, unlike A Cat in Paris, and is ten times a better film. The characters make one think of Beatrix Potter. The animation comes with a beautiful child-like simplicity, akin to watercolours brought to life (something that closely mimics the illustrations in Gabrielle Vincents original books). It gives the film an impressionistic simplicity where its effect rests with the characters and their situations on their own without any artifice. You keep comparing Ernest and Celestine to a Hollywood animated film and the lack of quickshot gags, contemporary culture references, cutsie sidekicks and constant flashy determination to impress with artistic detail is noticeable by its absence.
The magic of the film is the cheerful relationship between the ungainly Ernest and the tiny Celestine. Aubier, Patar and Renner create some side-splitting visual gags Celestines attempts to hide from the bear police in a bear mask, the camouflage painting of the van, throwaway shots of mice doing push-ups with the bars of mousetraps. The scenes of grudging friendship as the two cohabitate in Ernests house are entirely charming when Celestine says at the end that all she wants is to go and live with Ernest, you are entirely won over by the film.
(Winner in this sites Top 10 Films of 2012 list).
(Screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival)