La Traversée: A great animated film about the pain of exile [critique]

Formal beauty and perfectly orchestrated twists and turns combine wonderfully in this first feature film by Florence Miailhe

It was in 2002 that we discovered Florence Miailhe with On the first Sunday morning, a sublime short painted in pastel featuring a village ball, in homage to her parents’ village where she spent her summers. And his family (his great-grandparents fleeing Odessa at the start of the 20th century or his mother on the exodus routes to the free zone in 1940) find themselves – with the more recent tragic accounts of these migrants forced to flee their country in war to save their skins – at the heart of the inspiration of this long-term project. It was indeed in 2007 that the director joined forces with Marie Desplechin to imagine the story of two children lost on the road to exile, this initiatory story with a forced march towards a more peaceful horizon. The country they must flee is never mentioned, nor the time when the action takes place.

Crossing here aims universality and timelessness. And the result proves to be up to this fine ambition. Built like a fairy tale (around a sketchbook by its heroine), it evolves between reality, dreams and nightmares, populated by as many ogres and monsters as good fairies. Its twists and turns, as perfectly orchestrated as the use of voiceover, leave the suspense about the outcome of this epic intact. Animated painting, an animation technique chosen by this graduate of Decorative Arts, gives rise to paintings of captivating beauty for a result that is all the more impressive as it is aimed at all audiences, with several levels of reading. different.

Of Florence Miailhe. Duration 1h20. Release September 29, 2021

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