French films review – November 2019

A critical eye on the latest ciné releases. This month, Dilili in Paris and La vie scolaire

Published Last updated

Dilili in Paris - Michel Ocelot; 95 mins

The 75-year-old director of this charming film set in Belle Epoque Paris is perhaps France’s best known animator, and his latest effort won the César for animated feature at the 2019 awards.

Accepting the prize, he declared: “Long live women, long live girls”, a reference to the feminist, pedagogical narrative that follows the titular Dilili, a native Kanak (from French Caledonia).

The young stowaway, a polite and bright girl, arrives in a Paris at the height of the City of Light’s creative powers, and teams up with a delivery boy called Orel to investigate the mysterious kidnapping of young girls by a group called ‘The Master Men’.

Orel seems to be on first name terms with all the major artistic and scientific figures, so their sleuthing takes in impromptu, clue-seeking meetings with the likes of Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Marie Curie, Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Pasteur and Gustave Eiffel.

2D animations are superimposed over modern day photographs – taken by the director – of locations such as Opéra Garnier, Moulin Rouge and Montmartre, which lend a stunning aesthetic.

An insightful, fun treat for kids and an enjoyable romp for adults too!

Watch the trailer:

Also out:

La vie scolaire (School life)

A gritty, realistic and humour-laden tale of a young teacher from Ardèche who is thrown in at the deep end when she arrives to teach teenagers at a tough Paris school.