This film, one of my personal highlights of 2014 when it was reissued, also screens at Cine Lumiere on Sunday 18th January. You can find all the details here.
Time Out review: Thirty-two years in production and mauled by its producers, 1980’s ‘The King and the Mockingbird’ (‘Le Roi et L’Oiseau’) could have been a spectacular misfire. Instead it’s just a wonderful spectacle: a hugely ambitious loose adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale that’s enthralled just about every French child since its first release. The despotic ruler of a fictional kingdom pines after a shepherdess who lives in a painting on his wall; she in turn loves the chimney sweep in the neighbouring canvas. With the help of Mr Bird, a mockingbird who lives up to his name by incessantly taunting the otherwise feared king, the two conspire to flee the kingdom.
The bold design is a curious hybrid of Bavarian opulence and sci-fi polish (and an influence on Studio Ghibli’s ‘Castle in the Sky’). Meanwhile the taut adventure story – penned by the great poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert – doubles up as a cautionary tale on the dangers of totalitarianism. An established masterpiece in its homeland, Paul Grimault’s film remains little known across the channel. Lyrical, satirical and hugely entertaining, it deserves a wider audience; hopefully, with this welcome re-release, it will find one. Alex Dudok de Wit