Thursday, July 20, 2017

'The Girl Without Hands' Multi-Award Winning Animated Film (Limited US Theatrical Release Begins July 21)

We've been meaning to bring this to readers attention for a while and are very glad to see this French animated, full length feature, drawing the attention of mainstream media such as The New York Times, this week as it becomes available to see in the US in selected indie theaters.

Note: the alternate posters shown throughout this post were created by Paul Jeffrey of Passage Design, all of which can be seen HERE.
Created by one man (!), the film, being hailed a masterpiece and 'guaranteed to be an animation classic', is based on the Grimm's version of the tale, and cleverly and sensitively uses a very expressive-impressionist style to convey both characters and emotion throughout.

Take a look:

As a fairy tale reader, you're probably aware of how dark and harsh this story is - and therefore how much it means to so many people - and will be glad to know that although the style is gentle and colorful, it doesn't shy away from the dark themes.

For those a little rusty on the synopsis here's a summary, courtesy of GKids:
In hard times, a miller sells his daughter to the Devil. Protected by her purity, she escapes from the Devil who, in revenge, deprives her of her hands. So begins her long journey towards the light… but in spite of her resilience and the new protection of a handsome prince’s estate, the Devil devises a plan of his own.
From the New York Times review:
Perhaps more striking than the adaptation of the harsh narrative is the movie’s animation style. Mr. Laudenbach’s drawing eschews clean ink lines for a minimalist and impressionist aesthetic. He allows the water color swatches that stand in for characters and landscapes to create a dreamlike world that appears poetically endless. When lines do appear, they are thick and textured, like those of a sumi-e painting from Asia.
The result is a dazzlingly imaginative movie about survival. Left on her own, the woman in the story proves capable of taking care of herself, and later her child, once the constraints of comfort and gender roles are cast off.
Indie Wire has an exclusive 1min13second clip of the sequence HERE where the father is tricked by the Devil. It's definitely worth watching! (We are not embedding out of respect for this clip just surfacing)

Distribution has been picked up by GKids, with the film having a limited US theatrical release, starting in New York at the IFC tomorrow (July 21st). More dates and locations are being added to the official page on the GKids website HERE, so check it out and see if you're lucky enough to have this appear locally for you. With GKids - who are doing an amazing job of bringing world class animation from all over the globe to larger audiences - as the distributor, hopefully the full length feature will be available to add to our fairy tale film libraries on DVD and/or Blu-ray soon.

Please note: with the subject matter and the film being distributed by GKids, it may be a little confusing as to whom is the best audience for the film. By all reports, it can be considered accessible to some children and has a dreamlike quality about it, as well as a very female empowering message. There is no doubt it tells the same story as the Brothers Grimm, however, so due to this and the representation of some very dark concepts, the style is probably best suited for teens and above. Please use discretion (and perhaps a pre-viewing) if you intend to share this with children.
To help in deciding, there's a good description of style and some of the story aspects and approaches to storytelling in the Variety review HERE.

There is also a French book that's been released, using the drawings created for the film, which is advertised as being from ages 7-77. We can't find any notice of an English version of this book in the works so if you're keen, we suggest hunting down a French copy. You can read about it HERE.
The whole Fairy Tale News Room are all very much looking forward to seeing this film, and in many ways it feels as if the release of this film in the US this year, is rather fortuitous. We're very grateful to GKids for making the best animated storytelling from around the world available for us to see.

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