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Director: Paul Grimault
Release Date: 1947
Rating:  ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Le petit soldat © Paul GrimaultOne of the most poetic animation films ever made, ‘le petit soldat’ is a very inspired re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale of the steadfast tin soldier.

In this version, written by poet Jacques Prévert and undoubtedly inspired by the recent experiences of World War II, the soldier is actually an acrobat doll who gets drafted by a humming-top into an unexplained war.

In his absence, Jack-in-the-box tries to seduce his love, a ballerina doll. And when our little soldier finally returns from the battlefield, injured, Jack tries to kill him by taking his heart-shaped winding key away and by trying to drown him into an icy river. Fortunately, in a dramatic climax, the ballerina saves her love from drowning, while the villain gets stuck in a gin-trap.

‘Le petit soldat’ is entirely told in pantomime and a great improvement upon ‘La flûte magique‘, Grimault’s film from the previous year: its storytelling is better, its settings more dramatic, its characterization more convincing, and its animation more sophisticated. Indeed, this beautiful short about triumphant love arguably is Grimault’s masterpiece, even topping his beautiful, but uneven feature film ‘Le roi et l’oiseau’ (1952/1980), which is also based on a Jacques Prévert story.

Watch ‘Le petit soldat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Le petit soldat’ is available on the DVD ‘Le roi et l’oiseau’

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Director: Paul Grimault
Release Date: 1946
Rating:  ★★★
Review:

La flûte magique © Paul GrimaultIn this sweet little film, a boy-like minstrel and his misshapen dog disturb a nobleman in a castle.

The nobleman destroys the minstrel’s lute, whereupon a little bird gives the boy a magical flute, which makes alle people dance, including the evil nobleman and his birdlike soldiers.

This pantomime story is elaborately animated, but its designs belong more to the thirties than to the forties, and its story is hampered by uneven timing.

The idea of a flute making people dance was reused twelve years later by Belgian comic artist Peyo in his ‘La flûte à six schtroumpfs’ introducing his famous creations, the smurfs. This was also made into an animation film in 1976.

Watch ‘La flûte magique’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘La flûte magique’ is available on the DVD ‘Le roi et l’oiseau’

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