Magazine article Variety

Le Tableau

Magazine article Variety

Le Tableau

Article excerpt

FILM

Le Tableau

Animated - France-Belgium

Painted characters in various states of completion, and from several works of a French painter who probably lived in the 1930s, unite and go in search of their true colors in the enchanting animated pic "Le Tableau." Helmer JeanFrancois Laguionie's consistently enjoyable, inventive and beautifully crafted tale is a color riot suitable for all ages. Across-the-board critical praise and strong word of mouth have turned the initially modestly released pic into one of the winter's first discoveries. Feste - and not just those aimed at kids - and adventurous niche distribs will want to scribble on the dotted line.

Lola (voiced by Jessica Monceau), who occasionally narrates, is an inquisitive 14-year-old girl who is part of the clan of the Haines, the characters in a painting that have been left unfinished. She finds herself in the midst of an ongoing battle between the Alldunns, the figures that were completely finished and who claim supremacy, and the Halfies and Sketchies, the latter only poor charcoal outlines who haven't even received a dash of pigment and oil.

Ramo (Adrien Larmande), an Alldunn who's head-over-heels in love with Módigliani-esque beauty Claire (Chloe Berthier), a Halfie whose face lacks color, joins Lola, and together they set out to understand the painter's reasons for creating the different races. The adventurers travel so far beyond the fauvist-colored Alldunns' castle, and the equally vividly hued surrounding woods, that they arrive at the edge of the painting and actually tumble into the spookily empty artist's ateUer, where they find other paintings containing new worlds to explore.

Along the way they meet new friends, including Plume (Thierry Jahn), a charcoal sketch who's really just a bunch of lines, and Magenta (Thomas Sagole), a clueless young boy who has been made an unlikely drum major in a war painting. The painter they seek is absent but, in a brilliant twist, speaks to the characters through a Monet-like self-portrait (voiced by the helmer).

Screenwriter Anik Le Ray ("Eleanor's Secret") and co-scripter Laguionie don't skimp on the moralistic overtones but keep the painted worlds and lúerarchies and conflicts just abstract enough to be able to function as parables for different situations. …

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