It’s about time our Movie Of The Week discussion turned to animation, and there’s no better way to do that than with the thoroughly unique Kirikou And The Sorceress, a French animated fable about—no lie—a naked, newborn superhero. Writer-director Michel Ocelot adapted 1998’s Kirikou from a series of Senegalese fables about a child who’s extraordinary even before he enters the world: The film begins with him imperiously ordering his mother to give birth to him. (She deals with his demands in the most practical, level-headed way possible.) Once he’s born, he learns that his village is in the thrall of the malevolent, powerful sorceress Karaba, who has devoured nearly all of the men, so he sets off running and tries to fix the problem, with a potent combination of determination, fearlessness, and ignorance about all the misleading falsehoods his fellow villagers take for granted. It’s a movie with the outsized behavior and dreamy logic of a fable, the offbeat humor of early Looney Tunes, and lush art derived equally from Henri Rousseau’s immaculate, elaborate visions of the jungle and Ocelot’s early experiments with cutout-puppet animation.
We’ll kick off on Tuesday with a Keynote talking about how Kirikou both follows and ignores the familiar fairy-tale film mold, and continue Wednesday with a group Forum on the film’s animation style, influences, strange sense of humor, and catchy, catchy music by Senegal’s hometown hero, Youssou N’Dour. And Thursday, we’ll look at other offbeat and underappreciated animation we love. We hope you’ll join us for the conversation, and not wind up as the only one not humming the song. (Note: The clip below, of the first 10 minutes of the film, contains topless female villagers and a naked newborn superhero, and may be considered not safe for work.)
November 12: A Moment Of Innocence
November 19: Unforgiven
November 25: Animal House
December 2: Movie Of The Week goes on break throughout December, as we move into our end-of-year content. It will return in January.