Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Review: 'Ernest And Celestine'

The French-Belgian co-production "Ernest and Celestine" was nominated for a best animated film Oscar this year.
Sony Pictures Classics
The French-Belgian co-production "Ernest and Celestine" was nominated for a best animated film Oscar this year.

Hand Drawn Art Wins Over State Of The Art Technology

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

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.

The French-Belgian Oscar entry "Ernest and Celestine" (opening March 28 at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theaters) lost its bid for best animated earlier this month. It was robbed.

The Oscars make me so 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.

Advertisement

Companion Viewing

"The Triplets of Belleville" (France/Belgium, 2003)

"A Town Called Panic" (Belgium/France, 2009)

"Pom Poko" (Japan, 1994)

"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.

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 "Ernest and Celestine" 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.