Avril et le monde truqué [April and the Extraordinary World] (2015)

Avril et le monde truqué
Director: Christian DesmaresFranck Ekinci
Writer: Benjamin Legrand, Franck Ekinci
Based on: Jacques Tardi‘s design and world building
Cast: Marion CotillardPhilippe KaterineJean RochefortOlivier GourmetMarc-André GrondinBouli LannersAnne CoesensMacha Grenon
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Avril (Marion Cotillard) comes from a family of scientists. But scientists are an endangered species in her world, one of the reasons why everything is steampowered: scientists go missing all the time. And then Avril’s parents and her grandfather disappear, too. Avril is left alone with her cat Darwin (Philippe Katerine) who at least is able to speak due to some experiments. She is dead set on figuring out what happened to her parents. But it is only when small time criminal and police informant Julius (Marc-André Grondin) threatens Avril’s existence that things really start to get moving.

Avril et le monde truqué is a sweet, fun film and will probably warm the cockles of any heart that appreciates steampunk and (talking) cats. If that sounds like your thing, you should definitely see it.


The world that was created for the film is a thing of beauty. Not only in its alternate-history-softly-headachey otherness, but particularly in its design. It has a very distinct style (and as far as I can say, a very Tardi-esque one at that), bringing not only an aesthetic that is nice to look at, but also one that perfectly fits the narrative in its mix between intricacy and crudeness.

But while it is a joy to watch the images, the film has more to offer than that. The story is just as much a mix of apparent opposites as the visuals are: with one foot in the world we know and one foot in the air of a parallel universe; with its love for science and its complete disregard of anything actual scientific; with its creativity and regurgitation of tropes we’ve seen many times before. It gives the film a pleasant buzz.


Even when it does hit weaker moments – and there certainly were those for me as well – the pacing is well done and smooths over those bumps. It also helps that the film is laugh out loud funny quite a few times, particularly when it comes to the smaller beats.

That makes Avril et le monde truqué perfect entertainment for pretty much any age group (maybe starting with 6 years), which is especially nice because we get a competent, female scientist as the heroine of the film (if only Avril would have had female friends as well, I would have been almost entirely happy). And that is rare enough as is.


Summarizing: Grab a kid (preferably one you’re allowed to grab) and watch it.

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