For the past two years, animated films have seemed to take a dive in both quality and execution. The narrative structure taken in some of the films like Pixar’s Brave and Dreamworks’ Rise of the Guardians sound good on paper but when formally implemented onto the screen, many are left wanting more. In Jean-François Laguionie’s Le Tableau or how many will come to know it as, The Painting, animation is back in the forefront with an imaginative and incredibly accomplished tale of wonder, love, and revelation.
The Painting tells the story of a world unlike any other, a painting on a wall in a painter’s home. There are three types of figures living inside the painting: “Alldunns” are figures that have been completely drawn with color and precision, that live in a castle and have declared themselves superior beings in the wake of the painter’s absence. “Halfies” are figures that were left incomplete in color who have been barred from entering the castle. And living in the outer woods near the border of the frame are the “Sketchies”, rough outlines of beings that are hunted by the Alldunns for mere sport.
The film is told from our lovely Lola’s perspective, a Halfie whose best friend Claire, also a Halfie, who has fallen in love with an Alldunn, Ramo. When their love is discovered and tragedy strikes, Roma, Lola, and a Sketchie named Quill are driven to the perimeter of the painting where they believe their creator lies. When they leave the painting, their wonder and imagination doesn’t live up to the reality that is in store.
As the film evolves moment-to-moment, and presents breathtaking animation, I couldn’t help be in complete awe of what I was witnessing. Not only does the film breathe new life into a genre in desperate need of oxygen, it sets the bar high for all genres, both for children and adults, to challenge themselves with each new frame they present. It’s pure magic on-screen.
Le Tableau feels like Toy Story if it had been directed by Terrence Malick in an Italian opera that was written by William Shakespeare. It’s so profound and moving that your heart fills to the brim with adoration and marvel. Jean-François Laguionie and co-writer Anik Leray treat the viewers with respect, never being fearful to ask the tough questions and not play us as if we’re all adolescents. The Painting challenges the inner-child in all of us to grow up. The depiction of Venice alone with orange, yellows and the brightest colors you can think of is one of the finest creations of the year.
The Painting is transcendental and unlike anything I’ve seen this year. It’s not only the Best Animated films of the year but it’s one of the best pictures of the year. Period. GKIDS continues to prove how they will become the quality-equal to Pixar Studios as they continue to push the boundaries and trust their innovation as filmmakers.
Oscar should not think of voting on any category without seeing The Painting first. A true knock out!
Watch the Trailer:
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Tags: Animated films, Editor Film Review, France, GKIDS, The Painting