The King and the Mockingbird

Mar 19 - Mar 22, 2015

(Paul Grimault, 1979, France, 83 min, DCP)

Based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, the wildly satirical The King and the Mockingbird follows a shepherdess and a chimney sweep who seek to escape from the clutches of a tyrannical king. A masterpiece of traditional hand-drawn cell animation, the film is credited by celebrated Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as inspiring the creation of their own studio, the now world-famous Studio Ghibli. Brad Bird's The Iron Giant was clearly influenced by the towering robot menace in this film.

Grimault and Prévert (writer of Children of Paradise, Port of Shadows, Le Jour Se Lève) began work on the film in 1947, when it was planned to be France's first animated feature. A dispute stopped production, however, and it was released unfinished by its producer, without Grimault and Prévert's permission. Grimault spent 10 years getting the rights back and another 20 raising the money to finish the film as he and Prévert had envisaged it. It was finally finished and released in 1979, a few weeks after Prévert's death. Though it has been a favorite of French audiences for 35 years, it has long been unavailable in the U.S. due to rights issues.

"charming. . .there's a prewar, almost Disney aspect to the innocent, fugitive lovers (a shepherdess and a chimney sweep); and the monarch in pursuit of them is a comic despot who nonetheless carries a whiff of ’30s fascism." —Seattle Weekly, The Pick List

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