The Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess, a new feature film by Michel Ocelot, is a nugget of French animation to watch with the family! In theaters October 19.
In theaters October 19, The Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess presents us with 3 fabulous tales. These take place at 3 different times and depict 3 universes.
First of all, Michael Ocelotauthor of the saga Kirikou, tells us about an epic of ancient Egypt. He then tells us about a medieval legend from Auvergne to end with an 18th century fantasy in Ottoman costumes and Turkish palaces.
Thus, the animated film takes us through contrasting dreams, peopled with splendid gods, revolting tyrants, joyful vigilantes, shrewd lovers, princes and princesses doing as they please in an explosion of color.
ORIGIN OF THE PROJECT
After taking 6 long years to shoot Dilili in Paris (2018), Michel Ocelot wanted to devote himself to a lighter project. He had noted years ago a tale collected by Henri Pourrat, Le Conte du Beau Sauvage:
“I kept more of the beautiful original tale than I usually do. Then I leafed through another collection, stories from Morocco. In one tale, which dealt with something completely different, I noted the declared interest of a young girl for a handsome donut seller, a reminder of stories from the Arabian Nights”he confides.
“It made me want to do a whimsical “Turquerie”, like Molière or Mozart, a “comedy-ballet” in exotic costumes without aiming for historical truth. I placed it in Istanbul to enjoy costumes and extraordinary decorations”says the filmmaker.
FROM WHAT AGE IS THIS FILM RECOMMENDED?
Far from the frenzy of Disney, Pixar or Illumination productions, Michel Ocelot goes back to basics, telling us simple stories that will touch children right to the heart. Thus, The Pharaoh, the savage and the princess is recommended from 6 years old.
The animation of the three tales was entrusted to three different teams to allow them to move forward in parallel, but this organization was rather dictated by the financing. The first tale about the Pharaoh is produced by the teams at McGuff Belgium. The other funding came from the Grand Est region.
Two teams have been planned for the other two stories, one working remotely, the other at the premises of the EJT-Labo studio in Saint Quirin, Lorraine.
“Telework did not work well, it’s a tragedy of the coronavirus, the absence of contact, software not developed. It was the team installed in the Lorraine forest which was responsible for the bulk of the work, a very young and very enthusiastic team. I was there all the time of course. This allowed me to finally discover, in good company, this fascinating part of the country, Alsace and Moselle”recalls Michel Ocelot.
This way of alternating styles for each tale will be experienced as a delight by our dear little darlings, who will love to travel through these 3 countries and these different eras.
“In the first tale, Michel Ocelot took up the aesthetics of the frescoes of Ancient Egypt. “We only see the characters face on after a few minutes, starting from the chess game scene, with Nasalsa and her mother the regent, who turns to the camera”explains the director.
“We took the particular posture of the Egyptian bas-reliefs and paintings, which is impossible to reproduce physically, the head and the legs placed in profile and the torso seen from the front. But it works well in the paintings, and we succeeded to transpose it into animation.”
THE BEAUTIFUL WILD
In Le Beau Sauvage, Michel Ocelot chose the treatment in black silhouettes of the second tale because it was well suited to the dimly lit rooms of the castle and the undergrowth in which the handsome savage acts, but also for the sake of economy.
This story, reminiscent of Robin Hood in particular, will surely be a favorite with children, with its intrepid hero who rebels against a tyrannical power.
“There are always financial questions, but on the other hand I really like the elegant stylization of the black figure. And it fits well with the terrible side of the situation and with the tone of the Middle Ages. I win on all the tables, says the filmmaker.
THE PRINCESS OF DONUTS
In the third tale, the enchantment comes from the profusion of beautiful details: the gardens are lush, the costumes embroidered and encrusted with precious stones, the interiors are full of mosaics and the decorations of the grand vizier’s carriage are shimmering:
“This story makes you think of opening a treasure chest… We are amazed, and we also have a furious desire to eat donuts! And maybe also to taste rose jam? (laughs). the market, you see all kinds of good things to eat.”
“It’s part of the pleasures of life, of sensuality. This tale is a story of love and gastronomy! I benefited from an excellent source of information: Eminé Seker, who providentially assisted me to the realization, is Turkish and was able to guide me.”
“It was she, for example, who suggested the zucchini donuts, less “poetic” than rose jam, but fairer, because Turkish donuts are more salty than sweet. The zucchini, in the middle of a duo of ‘love, I like it very much’says Michel Ocelot.
The Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess hits theaters October 19.