French animation opens the Month of Francophonie in Manila



France has always been known as one of the classical art capitals of the world. What many in the Philippines do not know, however, is that France is not only a center for architecture, visual arts, and cinema, but has become a leader in the modern art of animation.

In fact, France is the leading producer of animated films in Europe and ranks third globally, only behind Japan and the United States.


The “French Touch,” an alternative to mangas and American animated films

The success of French animation is attributed to Franco-Belgian comics, which have brought to life some of today’s most beloved comic book characters such as Titeuf, Astérix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, and the Smurfs.

The city of Angoulême in southwest France is host not only to the biggest international comic book festival in the Europe and the second biggest in the world, but also houses one of the principal animation studios in France.

This is not a coincidence since comic cartoonists are becoming more and more involved in the creation and development of animation concepts.

French expertise in 3D animation is also recognized worldwide. French animators were among those behind the special effects of blockbuster films such as Shrek and The Pirates of the Carribean, among others.

The French animated films of today have what one may call a “French touch,” a particular aesthetic and a specific vision that expresses a certain French romanticism, humanism, and diversity rarely found in American productions.


The finest of French animation at Rizal Park

As part of the celebrations for the Month of Francophonie organized by the Francophone embassies in Manila, the Filipino public will be able to discover these French animated creations free of charge for all weekends throughout March at the Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium.

Francophones, lovers of French culture, students of the French language, and the Filipino public are enjoined to see first-hand the “French touch” in animation. French animation caters to a general audience, not just the young ones, implying great expectations not just in screenplay but in graphical techniques and cultural references.

The cycle of films to be screened include Le Tableau, Laguionie’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet with aesthetics largely inspired by the painter, Henri Matisse, and a look into the theater of shadows in Princes et Princesses.

Viewers are plunged into the world of magic in Sylvain Chomet’s L’Illusionniste and are able to explore the theme of cultural diversity as the films Kirikou et La Sorcière bring audiences to the Francophone culture of Africa.

Screening starts at 7:00 pm every Saturday and Sunday starting March 1 until March 30.

The French animation film screening is done in partnership with the National Parks Development Committee and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

This is one in a series of activities spread throughout March under the banner of the Month of Francophonie, a month-long celebration of the cultural and linguistic diversity of French-speaking territories organized by the embassies of France, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Cambodia, Laos, and the Consulate of Monaco.

Visit www.ambafrance-ph.org or www.facebook.com/FrenchEmbassyManila for the complete list of films and the screening schedule.

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