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Le Roman de Renard

Posted by martinteller on August 30, 2013

Based on classic fables, and a tale by Goethe, the story is about a fox named Renard who wreaks havoc on a kingdom ruled by a lion.  The king tries to put an end to Renard’s shenanigans, but Renard outwits his emissaries and armies every step of the way.  Wladyslaw Starewicz had previous done impressive stop-motion animation work in shorts like The Cameraman’s Revenge and The Insect’s Christmas, but here he — with the help of daughter Irene — expands his storytelling to over an hour, making this one of the first feature-length animated films.

The animation is truly visionary and charming, with beautiful attention to detail and impressionist touches.  These puppets are alive with character, and you can draw a straight line from this film to the magic of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.  The story is delightful (but often macabre… not sure if you’d want your kids to watch this, despite the milieu) with loads of great gags, culminating in a madcap castle siege that rivals the climax of Duck Soup in terms of pure insanity and mayhem.

A pioneering work of animation that deserves a larger audience.  Lots of fun.  Rating: Great (89)


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