Every night, a boy, a girl and an elderly technician meet in a closed, rather dilapidated old cinema. But the old picture palace harbours a secret. If truth be known, the cinema is a magical place where the three friends enjoy rummaging about, fantasizing, dressing up and playing parts in make-believe stories which, at night, become all too real for the three friends. For this is the time when sorcerers and elves take over in the auditorium, courageous stable hands long for beautiful princesses, werewolves howl and hard-hearted ladies swish their heavy silk skirts. Here, there are cities of gold and forests that are so deep that nobody ever finds their way out again. This is a magical universe pervaded by waves of harmony, where heavenly choirs compete with the dull thud of magical drums. On nights such as these, malevolence can unleash great misfortune. But, in the end, good always triumphs.
Animation filmmaker Michel Ocelot has always been fascinated by the techniques of classical animation. In Les contes de la nuit he juxtaposes silhouette animation as introduced by Berlin director Lotte Reiniger almost a century ago, with state-of-the-art 3D technology. Like Reiniger, whose 1926 film The Adventures of Prince Achmed became a key work of the genre, Michel Ocelot also takes his audience on a journey every bit as rich and enchanting as the stories from the ‘Arabian Nights’. Modern digital technology enables the filmmaker to create extraordinary worlds full of colour that transform the cinema into a genuinely magical place. –Berlinale
Michel Ocelot is a French writer, character designer, storyboard artist and director of animated films and television programs (formerly also animator, background artist, narrator and other roles in earlier works) and a former president of the International Animated Film Association. Though best known for his 1998 début feature Kirikou and the Sorceress, his earlier films and television work had already won Césars and British Academy Film Awards among others and he was made a chevalier of the Légion d’honneur on 23 October 2009, presented to him by Agnès Varda whom had been promoted to commandeur earlier the same year.
He was born in 1943 to a Catholic family then in Villefranche-sur-Mer, on the French Riviera, who relocated to Guinea, West Africa for much of his childhood, moving back to Anjou in France during his adolescence. As a teenager he played with and created toy theater productions and was inspired to become an animator through viewing Hermína Týrlová’s Vzpoura hraček… read more