Thursday, November 3, 2016

“My Life as a Zucchini” The Beautiful Animated Life of a Little Swiss Boy

By José Alberto Hermosillo
“My Life as a Zucchini” is the most gorgeous film of the year! 

An instant winner!

The stop-motion animation is heartfelt, perfectly crafted, colorful, and yet becomes a sweet and tender, coming-of-age drama for all ages.

This is the story of an introverted nine-year-old orphan named Icarus. His mother gave him the nickname of Zucchini, and he keeps it to honor her memory.

Inside the Fountain’s Foster Home, Zucchini and his “diverse” buddies will teach us an unforgettable lesson: “No matter how rough life can be, there is always hope for a better future.”
Zucchini is an excellent storyteller. He communicates his experiences through his marvelous drawings. 
His big eyes are two transparent windows that reflect the purity of his soul, emotions and real feelings.
Zucchini, photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
By looking at those big eyes, we can tell when he's feeling lonely, sad, depressed or nostalgic… When he is jealous, happy or when he feels love for his friends, as once he said, “And sometimes we also cry of happiness...”
At one point, Zucchini has to assimilate the passing of his mother by using the help of Raymond, the supportive cop who tells him that his mother is already in heaven and she is O.K. There is no need for guilty feelings.

“My Life as a Zucchini” is adapted to the screen from Gilles Paris’ Autobiography. 


Director Claude Barras identifies his own childhood with these fantastic characters. His influences came from movies such as the “400 Blows,” “Nobody's Boy: Remi,” “Heidi,” and “Bambi.”

Zucchini and his friends have one thing in common: all of them lost their parents in particular circumstances.
Claude Barras Director of "My Life as a Zucchini," photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
The director thinks that no matter how dark the story is, there is always one particular approach. As the Brothers Grimm did in Germany, their dark stories were told in their own exciting way.

The Autobiography of Zucchini is like a dark novel; it departs from the depiction of a kid who kills his mother with a shotgun.


Those tragic stories happen almost every day in real life and are difficult to say to children.

Screenwriter Celine Sciamma (“Tomboy”) was faithful to the book. She knew that the story had to be up for kids of all ages, so she wrote a less wicked adaptation of the original writer’s experience.

The script of this fantastic movie is laid down on the page elegantly and with much subtlety.

In the foster home, the children are all from different backgrounds and represent the most needed inclusion and diversity in cinema today.
The Magnificent Seven
Simone is the red-headed bad boy is the one who knows everybody's story. Ahmed is the soul of the party, Jujube is the chubby, gluttonous hypochondriac kid; Alice is this the blonde who hides under her hair, the gentle African girl is Beatrice, and Camille is everybody’s sweetheart, a proactive, positive, lovable girl.

The ten-inches-tall puppets were beautifully handcrafted and came to life in a very simplistic but realistic form. 
Zucchini and his collection of mouths. Photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
The dolls were made of latex, silicone, wires, fabrics. 

Other parts, like the computer generated human-like head, were made of metal, to attached and detached the mouths and eyebrows with magnets to change the facial expressions quickly.
Camille and her collection of lips. Photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
The production stopped for the night when the puppets needed a change of clothes for the next scene.
The sets were minimalist, handcrafted and hand-painted by the director and his crew. The sets gave the right atmosphere to the movie, combined with the perfect editing it glides evenly. 

Without sugar coating, the film draws the spectator into the story right from the begging till the end; it flows smoothly with continuity and a good pace.
Max Karli & Pauline Gygax, producers, "My Life as a Zucchini." Photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
Pro and non-pro child actors were cast to do the voices of the characters. 

To communicate the emotions realistically, these young stars were placed in an actual set to perform and interact with each other. Their voices were not recorded separately as is done in a traditional animation. They were taped in action, their voices occasionally overlapping one another purposely.
Director and producers. Photo by Jose Hermosillo © 2016 Festival in LA
This original animated film is Switzerland’s official Academy Awards entry for the best foreign-language film. It also qualifies in the category of a best-animated feature, with a high possibility of getting an Oscar nomination in one or maybe in both categories.
The saddest yet happiest moment of the film is the time they talk about adoption. Simon says, “Adoptions with older kids happen rarely.”

That's why we have to be content with a simple goodbye and the nicest memories of good friends.

2 comments:

  1. I think it's a very good and inspiring movie. I can't wait to watch this movie.

    ReplyDelete