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Review: 'Ernest and Celestine'

March 27, 2014 2:19 p.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando review the Oscar-nominated animated film, "Ernest and Celestine."

Related Story: Review: 'Ernest And Celestine'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: The French-Belgian Oscar entry Ernest and Celestine lost its bid for best animated earlier this month. This gets KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando a little bit animated.

Oh, the Oscars make me mad. This year the Academy gave it’s little gold statue for best animated film to the homegrown Frozen from Disney, bypassing the glorious Japanese anime The Wind Rises, and the enchanting French-Belgian co-production Ernest and Celestine. Frozen may employ state of the art technology but it’s storytelling creaks with tired Disney tropes about feisty girls and infuriatingly stupid sidekicks. In contrast, these foreign entries serve up lush artistry that reminds you of the particular magic hand drawn animation conjures up.

Ernest and Celestine takes its cue from a series of Belgian children’s books and serves up a tale of tolerance and rebellion. In the world of the film there are only bears and mice. Bears live above in the city and mice below. So when a bear named Ernest and a mouse named Celestine become friends, well it can only lead to trouble.

CLIP Police sirens

There’s a moral to the story but it’s delivered with grace and humor, rather than condescension and heavy-handedness. It’s a children’s film in the best sense of the word because it appeals to our sense of wonder and delight.

Thankfully, Landmark will be showing the film in its original French as well as English dubbed. If this elegant treasure with its vintage charm doesn’t put a smile on your face well all I can say is you must be frozen.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.