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  • TBC
  • Animation, Family
  • 2011

Tales of the Night

Tales of the Night


A 3D anthology of French animated shorts that use a unique paper silhouette style, written and directed by Michel Ocelot


The trouble with a lot of the cinema aimed at families is that it is dumbed-down and cleaned-up to the point of being bland. Princesses are chaste yet brave and they never end up in the dragons belly - which may keep prim parents happy but it gets old for kids fast.

Fairytales from the Middle Ages wrapped morality up in nasty little fables, and the more sinister they are, the more kids seem to love them. French director Michel Ocelot is obviously smitten too, as Tales Of The Night takes notes from the best fairytales around the world and twists them just slightly to fit modern audiences, adding a sprinkle of dry humour.

Ocelot has won acclaim for his animated features in the past but he really excels here. The stories comprise five lifted from Ocelots TV show Dragons et Princesses and one exclusive short, and all are animated using silhouetted flat shapes against lushly rendered backgrounds.

The addition of stereoscopic 3D was a stroke of genius as, rather than drawing anything out of the screen (with the exception of the final short which was clearly made with that extra D in mind), it gives the animation a gorgeous, layered decoupage look.

The stories are great too and full of complex morality; evil princesses are given just a glimmer of redemption, monsters are tamed and brave young men only sort-of save the day. Most memorable is the story of a Tibetan man with a talking horse which takes a sombre turn, featuring chilling chamber-choir music.

It is possible though that some children will find the subtitles hard to follow (especially as the language used isnt always simple) and it may take a while to get used to them sitting on a separate visual plain to everything else.

Cast & Connections

  • Director: Michel Ocelot

In a nutshell

Shot through with romance and glimpses of the kind of silly humour that made A Town Called Panic (2009) so popular, children and adults should be kept quite happy by this solid, intelligent family film.

by Terry Mulcahy

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