Beautiful and delightful, this small folk tale is a treasure
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 12/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful film, that can be enjoyed equally by parents and children. Kirikou is a small and precocious boy who never lets prejudice get in the way of his fierce determination to protect his people from an evil sorceress. He is driven by curiosity and courage but also admits his own feelings of vulnerability; he is a wonderful example to children, a much more compelling hero than most of the whiny characters that dominate most Hollywood animation. Whether or not it is a traditional folktale, it captures the feel of many of the African folk legends I have heard, and depicts a vibrant culture that is both suffused with ordinary magic and yet deeply human. The animation of this humorous and touching film is both simple and delightful, a perfect match for the story.
What is perhaps most intriguing is that it is an example of the kind of story so prevalent among folk legends that show how traditional societies are aware of the dangers of fixed traditions and open to the possibility of new ideas. There is a longstanding prejudice within cultures based on change and "progress" that traditional cultures are backwards and unable to accommodate appropriate change -- in this story (and in fact in many traditional folk stories), this problem is faced and dealt with from an internal standpoint -- in other words, this story is about how change can be accommodated within traditional societies and how such change can be encouraged by traditional storytelling, and that such change does not require a rejection of tradition. Criticisms of dogmatism are embraced within this story, that depicts many of the tribal people as resisting inquiry and assuming they already know what is best even when their traditional methods of trying to defeat the enemy in battle are no longer working. The wise persons of this story are the young Kirikou -- too young to assume he already knows how things work and how to solve problems, and young enough to ask questions and be willing to learn from one who will actually answer his questions rather than merely brush them aside -- and his wise grandfather -- who, it is significant, has left the village to live by himself on the mountain. It is also significant that the young Kirikou's main quest is not to defeat the evil sorceress but to understand what has made her evil. It is only by understanding (and even empathizing with) the enemy that he can defeat her --an important lesson even for our own troubled times, full of ignorance and of the arrogance that assumes war (and the resistance of change even where the status quo is unsettling) is the only solution to incomprehensible threats. At its heart, this is a story about how the villagers learn to accept new wisdom, from the mouth of a child and of an elder who has gone beyond status-seeking pride."
A Beautiful, Magical Film
Larkitten | 07/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just saw this movie and found the experience to be a breath of fresh air! The animation is gorgeous (the backgrounds reminded me of the Vienna Secession), the character designs are interesting, the content is strong, the music is excellent, and the movie manages to keep the feel of story-telling.
I highly recommend this film!!"
Review from 9-yr-old movie critic who met director Ocelot Ma
10-yr-old Movie Critic | San Diego, CA, USA | 03/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The French Director Michel Ocelot invited me to meet and interview him in San Francisco on March 4, 2009, when his new movie "Azur & Asmar" opened that week in SF. He enjoyed reading my published review of "Azur & Asmar" (the best animated movie I've ever watched!). I attended the screening of his earlier film "Kirikou and the Sorceress" and interviewed him after the screening. Meeting director Ocelot is an experience of a lifetime!
You can check out my photos with director Michel Ocelot and all my movie reviews here:
Movie Review: Kirikou and the Sorceress by Perry S. Chen (9 years old)
The movie "Kirikou and the Sorceress" is a monumental journey of an infant boy in a small African village, which is terrorized by Karaba the Sorceress. It is a story of love, courage, perseverance, and heroism.
The Sorceress is taking away the villagers' jewels and is thought to eat the men who dare to fight her. She lives in a temple guarded by robots called "fetishes."
In the village, an expecting young mother has a baby who is impatient to be born in her womb. The mother said: "A baby who can talk to his mother in her stomach can give birth to himself." Then the baby did crawl out of the mother's womb, wash himself, and name himself "Kirikou." He finds out that his uncle is going to fight Karaba the Sorceress.
Kirikou is fast and agile. In a flash, he gets a hat and runs to his uncle who puts on the hat and then the hat talks! It is Kirikou! He helps the uncle attack and defend himself from the fetishes. Karaba orders the fetish to get the hat that called him "Uncle", but the hat runs away!
The village children also fall prey to the Sorceress. They were captured by a Karaba's dugout and a walking tree. But Kirikou thwarted the Sorceress's attempts with wisdom and courage.
Kirikou has a persistent question: Why is the Sorceress evil? There is only one man who knows the answer: Kirikou's grandfather, the wise man of the mountains. Kirikou travels through a narrow tunnel underneath Karaba's temple to meet his grandfather. Along the way, Kirikou makes friends with a family of squirrels whom he saved from a ravenous skunk. The squirrels give him food and presents.
To escape from the piercing glare of the watchful "look-out fetish," Kirikou dresses up as a bird. But a real bird bigger than him tries to peck his feathers off, revealing a clump of naked skin! The fetish is very intrigued. The squirrels see their friend in peril, so they defended Kirikou by aggressively baring their teeth, arching their backs, and thrashing their tails to the big bird. The fetish would have been suspicious if it saw a bird clinging to another bird with its wings!
Kirikou finally got to his grandpa's mountain paradise. He told Kirikou secrets about Karaba the Sorceress and an animal drinking up the water from the cursed spring. It is a creature warped by greed.
With one magical act, Kirokou drains Karabar's powers and something magical happens to him too!!!
This movie is truly SPECIAL because I got to meet the one-of-a-kind Director Michel Ocelot at the screening. I got to interview him in San Francisco! Monsieur Ocelot is a very enchanting man and I would love to learn more about him and his childhood in Africa. Meeting him is truly a MAGICAL experience!
All the village women in the movie were dressed in the African traditional way with a loincloth and bare torso. And young children stayed without clothes, a natural thing to do, as the temperature was high. Monsieur Ocelot shared the stories behind the movie release: None of the American distributors wanted to release the movie. "They would have if I had put bras and pants everywhere, and ruining the honesty of this African tradition," said Monsieur Ocelot during the audience Q&A session.
I saw Monsieur Ocelot's new movie "Azur & Asmar" in Feb 09, and found many similarities and differences when comparing and contrasting the two movies. In "Azur & Asmar", the main characters are two boys of different race. In "Kirikou and the Sorceress", the character is a squirrel-sized boy. Azur & Asmar both want to liberate the Djinn Fairy, while Kirikou just wants to help get rid of the evil from the Sorceress. The setting in Azur & Asmar is an Arabian land, while the setting for Kirikou is an African village.
Both movies are enchanting and magical, and both have a quest. All key characters are brave and clever. You also need to, in both movies, enter many doors before you succeed. I noticed that both movies have a wise old man, and last, they both have responsible, loving, and nurturing mothers.
In "Kirikou and the Sorceress," small has small's advantages. But most of all, courage, perseverance, and wisdom are the keys to the magic door of success.
You'll love this movie!
French Froggy | Fayetteville, Ar. USA | 05/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this movie years ago in France. Ever since, I've been checking amazon every few months to see if its out. It's made my year that I can finnaly loan it to my American freinds. It is one of my very favorite movies, everyone should see it at least once."