NYICFF 2012: Le Tableau, Paint Me a Movie

Le Tableau was my final film for the festival, luckily this screening also featured the director and writer in a little Q&A after. This film while still for children is a little more mature in its execution. The animation and colors of a painterly quality will strike you first and captivate you, indeed it was the reason I wanted to see the film in the first place. Happily there is also an under current of independence and creating your own destiny making it more than just pretty to look at.

Le Tableau means The Painting, so that is where our story begins, inside an unfinished painting. A three caste systems has developed, diving those who are fully painted, those only half-painted, and those that remain sketches. Lola, a Halfie unperturbed by being “incomplete,” decides to journey to find the painter in hopes of helping her friend Claire who is in love with the free-thinking Alldunn Ramo. Ramo joins Lola on her quest as does the Sketchie Plume. Their adventure takes them beyond their painting into the world of the painter, meeting his other creations along the way.

Lola is the heart of this story and she remains the most abstract in her thinking and in her ultimate choice at the end of the film. From the beginning she thinks bigger than the other characters, she can see the world beyond her painting and yearn for it. But that doesn’t mean she acts above them, she strives to help everyone she comes in contact with learning their story. And that in turn informs her story and her path. Just as Ramo and Plume seek the painter in order to complete their world, they unexpectedly end up learning how to shape their own destiny. But Lola, she seems to know she’s had that power all along.

Jean François Laguionie the director of the film took questions after the viewing. He expressed his wish to have done the movie in hand-drawn animation but lamented the time and money needed to do so made it impossible. But even then the project took eight years for completion. Anik Le Ray, the writer, mentioned that all the names with the exception of Lola and Ramo are inspired by paintings and painting terms. She knew the only person who could make this come to life as Jean François. Jean François Laguionie is considered legendary in the field and yet this is the first film I’ve seen sadly. Anik went on to describe the furious way he works drawing frame after drame, hundreds of drawings one after the other in the early concept stages.

I was only able to see three films this year, but two of them were French which is an area I’d like to expand my animation knowledge in so it worked out.

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