13 mn animated short film (1979)

In a world of white lace, a great inventor, a great inventress and a little inventress invent wonderful helpful machines. But people do not understand ; and they do not like people who behave differently…
Gédéon had been an ordeal, I was not happy with it. One of the many criticisms I received, when shooting Gédéon, was that I was using paper cut outs, a technique only for amateurs. I took the opposite view in my first film. I intended to show the world how good I was - and get orders. I made the whole film with paper cut outs, white paper from start to finish; making this film, all by myself, was a great joy. The shooting took place in the home of an animated film director I admired, and still admire today, Jean-François Laguionie. It wasn't my choice, I was not in a position to choose, it just happened because my producer had found the cheapest camera system in France. The camera had no viewfinder; a large celluloid sheet was placed on the table, showing the field according to the camera's height. A crank, very hard to turn, was used to move the camera up and down. There was no automatic focus and every time I moved the camera up or down, I forgot to adjust the focus. Since there was no viewing, I only discovered the problem after the job was done and the film spool had been transmitted to the lab, and then returned to the shooting place where we had no equipment to screen it. I had to go to a nearby city, in the cinema, where the projectionist screened my film with old noisy equipment. I had to identify and record all the problems in only two viewings.
Robert Cohen-Solal, the musician in charge of the sound effects, only used paper as well, except for the sound of the bell!
Christian Maire, the music composer, with whom I worked in many other films, also played with simple mechanics. He used instruments such as the harpsichord and the celesta. Instead of hiding all the mechanical noises of the wooden instruments, he positioned a microphone inside them in order to amplify these unusual sounds.
Doing all the cut outs took me 5 months, in my apartment, in silence and alone. Then shooting the film as such took three months. It was also done in absolute silence, the house was lost in the Cevennes mountains, and it was snowing. I was working from sunrise to sunset, I was doing something important and I was happy.
The film got a few awards….but no orders.
Productionaaa production
World sales: Agence du Court Métrage (DCP, 35 mm) and Studio O (DVD)
French cultural network: Institut Français (Blu-Ray) and ifcinéma (download)
Technical dataTechnique: paper cut animation
Image format: 1,33
Screening format: DCP, Blu-Ray, DVD and 35 mm
Languages: French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Italian
Director: Michel Ocelot
Screenplay, graphic design, animation: Michel Ocelot
Production Manager: Marcelle Ponti
Sound effects: Robert Cohen-Solal
Tracing: Polly Guincètre
Voices: Michel Elias, Michel Ocelot
Mixing: Jean-Claude Voyeux
Music: Christian Maire, interpreted by Claire Pradel
  • BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Award) for the Best Animated Film, London (UK),1981.
  • CESAR nomination for the Best Animated Short Film, Paris (France), 1981.
  • First Prize, Animafest, Zagreb (Croatia), 1980.
  • Golden Trophy, International Film Festival, Odense (Denmark), 1980
  Share on Twitter