PRINCES AND PRINCESSES
(Princes et Princesses)
It is a delightful and quite beautiful film that Michel Ocelot produces. All the figures are animated as silhouette shapes, something that has an extraordinary versatility in its simplicity, allowing Ocelot to model styles as diverse as Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to traditional Japanese art. There is a great deal of visual invention to the film, especially The Sorceress episode with the sorceresss gadgets that repel all attempts at incursion and the delightful drollness of the heros solution and the twist ending. All the stories are told with a delightful piquance where justice gets a final comeuppance and good wins out as in all fairytales. None of the episodes are weak at all. The most appealing of them is the final Princes and Princesses episode with the prince and princess passing through an hilarious series of animal transformations with each kiss in an attempt to regain their original forms.
Especially appealing is the way that Princes and Princesses has been construed with a postmodern edge. It is not merely a set of fairytales but a film about animators (who themselves have been animated) making a series of animated fairytale shorts. With each, we see them discussing the presentation and design before the curtain literally opens on the tale. Quite delightfully, the film stops at midpoint for exactly a one minute break so we can discuss what we have seen so far.
Michel Ocelot subsequently went onto make two Kirikou sequels Kirikou and the Wild Beasts (2005) and Kirikou and the Men and Women (2012), as well as the Arabian Nights fantasy Azur and Asmar (2006) and the anthology Tales of the Night (2011).
(Winner in this sites Top 10 Films of 1999 list).