Le tableau [The Painting] (2011)

Le tableau
Director: Jean-François Laguionie
Writer: Jean-François Laguionie, Anik Leray
Cast: Julien Bouanich, Jessica Monceau, Adrien Larmande, Chloé Berthier, Thomas Sagols, Thierry Jahn, Magali Rosenzweig, Céline Ronté
Part of: Anilogue

Plot:
Lola (Jessica Monceau) lives in an unfinished painting. In that painting, there’s a definite hierarchy: the finished characters live the good live, while the half-finisheds like Lola live more or less in hiding. Though they are still lucky compared to the sketches who get hunted down. Lola’s best friend, half-finished Claire (Chloé Berthier) is in love with the finished Ramo (Julien Bouanich) and vice versa, a love that is frowned upon strongly. As circumstances will have it, Lola, Ramo and the sketch Plume (Thierry Jahn) find themselves on the run from the finished – a flight that leads them right out of the painting and on an adventure to find their painter and ask him to finish them.

Le tableau has an intriguing premise but unfortunately the movie just doesn’t deliver. Anything. It was badly drawn, badly animated, badly spoken and badly written. I actually fell asleep during the screening – and rarely have I been so glad to miss out on half an hour of a film.

[SPOILERS]

There were two things that really pissed me off about the film. One I did see coming from the description of the movie – that they would draw the analogy of the painter being god. Unfortunately, even expecting that, they handled it exceptionally badly. Lola finally meets the painter and tells him that they felt abandoned by him and he tells her, “I didn’t abandon you, I gave you everything you need to experience life and make the best of it.” Dude, COME ON, you didn’t even fucking finish the painting.

The second thing was the whole genocide angle. The finished characters in the painting actually hunt down and kill the sketches and are talking about doing the same thing to the half-finisheds. The situation is resolved when Lola and the rest come back with paint and they just finish everyone. And I know that it is a pretty French approach to deal with differences by trying to remove them (see, for example, the head scarf thingy), but seriously people, no. It’s like saying if all the Jewish people in Nazi Germany had just become Christians, there wouldn’t have been a problem. It is not only disgusting to suggest, it doesn’t even work that way.

I do think that I would have been more forgiving about the entire thing if the movie itself had been better. But it just doesn’t have anything to recommend it. The character design was rather nice but it seemed weird that Lola would be from the same painting as Ramo. But the animation wasn’t up to snuff, the voice acting was horrible and almost as atrocious as the dialogue themselves.

In short the movie completely fell apart for me. I am honestly surprised that it would manage to get into any festival, even one as small as the Anilogue.

Summarising: Skip it.

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