Reviewer Anna Thompson is 11 years old and a student at El Segundo Middle School.
The Painting is a fairly fast-paced, hand-drawn, animated film from France. It has an artistic style, made to look as though the characters were inside paintings. The characters jump into paintings of a castle, a war scene, a Venetian celebration, and a self-portrait.
In the main setting, an unfinished painting of a castle, there are three social levels of characters. Named for how completed they were by the painter, the Allduns, who are all-done, are at the top of the hierarchy. The Halfies who are partially colored, follow them, and the Sketchies, who are not at all colored, and are only sketched, are at the bottom. The Halfies and the Sketchies are treated unfairly by the selfish Allduns, who are convinced they are the only ones the painter cares about. This social leveling serves as the conflict of the film.
In every good story, there are compelling characters who want to resolve the conflict. From the unfinished castle painting, three characters from varying social levels join together to seek out the painter to ask him to finish their painting. There’s Ramo, an Alldun who is in love with Halfie Claire; Lola, Claire’s curious, self-confident friend; and Quill, a Sketchie who wants to help his best friend, Gum. Along their journey, they enter a painting of a war and meet Magenta, a brave and compassionate drum boy who joins them on their quest. They also get help from the painter’s grumpy self-portrait, and a semi-nude painting of the painter’s love interest.
The Painting’s director, Jean-François Laguionie, uses music and color to move along the story. During a scene before danger, the orchestra warns the audience by playing ominous music, and during a scene that is happy, wind instruments play lighter music. The director also uses varying colors to illustrate the settings of the different paintings. The castle has cool colors, because most scenes occur at night. The War has red soldiers fighting against green soldiers. And Venice is bright and happy, with the exception of a few shadowy scenes where death is chasing a Sketchie.
The Painting is a film best recommended for kids ages 7 and up. Adults will also appreciate the artistic style and sophistication of the film. Anyone who likes art, Greek Mythology, or the book Katie Meets the Impressionists - or doesn’t know their own destiny - would enjoy seeing this film. The moral of the film is to know that there is always an opportunity to change, though it is your decision whether or not to do so. You have the ability to complete yourself, and to always wonder, “Who painted you?”
The Painting plays May 5, 2013, at 11am at The Aero Theatre. Buy tickets in advance through this link to make a donation to the school of your choice.
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