It is Inktober! Have you been smudging your fingers in ink? I would love to check it out, show meee! In the spirit of Inktober, I present to you (DUN-dun-DUUUUN!) one of my all time favourite animated film – The Painting!
A mere few days before I took on my final ever engineering exams, I walked over to Suchitra Film Society in hopes of catching a free Frenchie. Bonus: I met two ladies all the way from Indiranagar. They came using the metro (YAS METRO IS OPEN!) and one of them was a dancer/model, while both were interested in theatre, arts and culture – which of course, made for good conversation.
The Painting is a surreal French film, for you uninitiated. (I was one not so long ago.)
This one, was also animated.
I could already feel the successful sweet tang of an evening well spent. The trailer promised a story that is at turns Fantasy and in a few corners Science Fiction.
The Painting or Le Tableau is a French animated movie. It begins with a curtain call for the title and an introductory pep talk to the audience. The painting is set and the class politics are introduced.
The fully painted figures, Toupins (Allduns) are the phantasmogorical high society in a loop of attending lovely balls and dances in the chateau overlooking the landscape for amusing themselves. The half drawn and almost painted Pafinis (Halfies) live in tents in the garden bemoaning their existence, the scrawls Reufs (Sketchies) are only to be pitied. Sketchies are hunted out for the mar they are by the Toupins.
There is a honest love story of the Capullustration Juliet and Modelague Romeo. He disappears with Mister Scrawly and the Almost Painted Protagonist who earlier explained the lay of the design to us.
Now when they rediscover the edges of the painting through a cursed flowery forest, they drop off the frame and canvas itself, falling into a landscape of cheery wooden toy soldiers fighting for death and glory on the battlefield.
Here a soldier tags along to the outside of this canvas as well, to find out from the THE PAINTER, about the war he is fighting. Just as our original trio look for a solution to the unfinished bits of the painting and to plead THE PAINTER to complete it. Capullustration Juliet follows, with the Toupins spying.
Through many perils and huge human sized doors our favourite illustrations walk through only to find a self portrait of THE PAINTER along side a cheery Harlequin and a portrait of a lovely ex lover. She talks of his love and his mad passion. She tells them of his tempestuous love story.
Death stalks our heroes in Mardi Gras celebrations, colourful and bizarre.
The paintings become multi dimensional portals for the characters since they are from the same mind. Striking the brilliant idea of picking up paints and colouring in himself and his friend in, Mister Scrawls, (no more in all his simple charcoalness) and his friends upstage the folks at home with a revolution, brightly dressed.
The soldier returns to his painting as well, all the soldiers are of a neutral colour and there is no fighting but shooting at wild geese, I imagine.
A certain Deus Ex Machina hand is played since THE PAINTER is obviously the God over his worlds, and the travelers were all along in search of his message, and brought back the materials of his creation after their wild sojourn: The Paints.
Each of the characters take into their lives own two dimensional hands, and no one more so than Lola, who sets out once again, out of her canvas looking for THE PAINTER. Once he sees her, he is not surprised to find her the most adventurous or far- seeking. They have a nice chat and she walks on, perhaps out of another canvas after seeking out her own revelation.
The creator, visionary, artist and producer of this beautiful masterpiece is akin to a one man band.
Jean-François Laguionie designed every character himself. The designs include homages to painters such as Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
Laguionie was originally interested in theatre but his encounter with Paul Grimault gave him the opportunity to learn the techniques of animated film. The Painting was made in live action as well as in 3D animation, and the painstaking effort involved seems breathtakingly visual as well.
I want to watch La Demoiselle et le violoncelliste (The Maid and the Cellist) by Jean-François Laguionie all the more so. I mean, come on, glance at the title. I am already hooked as a high strung bow.
GKIDS, the US distributor of films like Azur and Asmar, Sita Sings the Blues, and The Secret of Kells,
This may seem frivolous trivia except the film has interesting references to theatre, right from the curtains opening and the fourth wall breaking at different points, hence actually making the audience a part of the story.
With an IMDB rating of 7.4 and Rotten Tomatoes score 82% do I need say more?
Okay I looked it up now, and I got news for you all. The Painting is on Netflix!
La peinture c’est parfait!