Le Tableau (2011)

21 Jul

Le Tableau (Dir. Jean-Francois Languionie, 2011) is a French/Belgian animated feature which tells the story of a group of mismatched characters in search of their creator, ‘The Painter’. Set in a world populated by the beautiful but vacuous Alldunns, the incomplete Halfies, and the Sketchies who resemble little more than rough drawings, the painting’s inhabitants are being torn apart by class prejudice. The Alldunns, held in sway by the charismatic Great Candlestick, show little regard for the Halfies, and absolutely despise the Sketchies whom they believe the Painter should have erased long ago. Ramo, a disillusioned Alldone, is in love with Halfie Claire, and it is their romance which sets the story in motion.

To try and remedy the inequalities in their world Ramo, Claire’s self-assured friend Lola, and an on-the-run Sketchie named Quill embark on a journey to find the enigmatic Painter. Thus the unlikely trio literally tumble out of the painting they inhabit into the real world of the Painter’s workshop. There they discover other paintings which serve as portals into other worlds, each bringing our heroes a step closer to their goal.

Le Tableau is a visually beautiful film. In today’s world of minutely detailed photo-realistic animation, Le Tableau, for the most part, appears something of a throwback to the bygone era of 2d animation which adds to its charm. The scenes are filled with broad swathes of colour, bold outlines, and character design which evoke images of post-Impressionist paintings. The reclining nude and grumpy self-portrait are highlights, as is the vibrant carnival sequence in Venice.

The largely orchestral soundtrack perfectly compliments the visuals and provides just the right emotion, whilst the voice acting is spot on. Central themes of prejudice, love, and the search for one’s creator are deftly handled without being over-bearing, and the final denouemont in which the animation takes a back seat, provides the film with a satisfying conclusion.

The director’s vision and animator’s skill have combined to create a well crafted film. Fans of animated film will particularly appreciate the bold visual style. Well worth a second watch.

By Roger Beatson

For ticketing information and session times in your area visit: http://www.nzff.co.nz/

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