Friday, July 28, 2017

Animator/director of 'The Girl Without Hands' on Why *This* Fairy Tale & Showing It To Kids

There is a really interesting interview at with the animator/director,
Sébastien Laudenbach, of The Girl Without Hands; the animated indie film making heads turn as it began it's limited theatrical release in the US last week.

In case you missed the latest news and overview of this film, go check out our post HERE, which includes trailers and art, to catch you up to date.

Specifically, Laudenbach responds very interestingly to three pertinent fairy tale questions, which we're extracting for you below.

Carlos Aguilar, MovieMaker Magazine (MM): What about this specific fairy tale did you find compelling?Sébastien Laudenbach (SL): When I read it, I immediately found it modern. I liked the path of the girl who has to leave a man’s world: her father first, then her prince. She has to be alone growing up. She needs time to be herself, to be whole. And when she is ready, she can come back to the world. This was very important for me. I think it was the first time I read a fairy tale that told such a story, a fairytale where being a princess was not the happy ending, where it was better to be a woman than a princess. It seemed universal to me. And it made me think about some parts of my youth. This is a story of a woman, but also the story of a man, the prince, who has to go away to fight in faraway wars, and come back. Also for him, it is better to be a man than a prince. This man is not a superman, not a superhero. He is a man, with his weaknesses. But as a simple man, he can be loved. 
MM: The stories in your shorts and in the one in this feature are similarly adult-oriented. Do you feel there is a lack of animated work that focuses on darker subjects, rather than being aimed at children? SL: I think you can tell everything you want with animation techniques. I am focused on adult topics, but I also like children-targeted movies. Children are a very good audience: They can understand a lot of things in a movie, even more than adults, sometimes. In France we released the film for an audience 8 years old and up. It was not easy, but it was very interesting. Their reaction was amazing. They understood the essence of the story: its violence and cruelty, but also its happy ending. Obviously they can’t understand some parts, but it doesn’t matter. The job of a child is to understand the world. So I like keeping some mystery, some dark parts. It is life! A lot of adult movies can be shown to children.  
MM: The Grimms’ ideas about greed, about vanity, about simplicity over opulence, and about persevering even in the worst of situations are expressed in the film with gorgeous visual poetry. Why do you think these concepts are still relevant today? SL: The most important theme for me is time. Everyone has to have time to be himself, to be whole and fulfilled. For someone it might take only a few years. For someone else it might take a lifetime. A lot of people, including myself when I was younger, take shelter in the wrong people. For me the tale is not about greed. The father is just troubled by his daughter’s body, which is changing. And he knows that she is ready to leave home, though he doesn’t want that. So between incest and the urge to keep his daughter at the house, the role of the father is mainly to cut off the possibility of the girl leaving and forcing her to be dependent on him. The more he does that, the more she wants to leave. Greed is just a medium to tell this. The concept of greed is always present in life, don’t you think?
For those fairy tale folk very interested in this tale, you may find Laudenbach's comments on how to portray her doing tasks/surviving without hands interesting too.

You can read the full replies and the whole interview HERE.


  1. This is a favorite fairy tale of mine. I'm looking forward to seeing it! Thanks for the post:)