Le Roi et l'oiseau  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Le Roi et l'oiseau (The King and the Mockingbird) is a 1980 traditionally-animated feature film directed by Paul Grimault. Begun in 1948 as The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep (based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen); cited by the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki as an influence. In the English-speaking world, the film has been released on video under various titles but these have generally been low-budget releases of the unfinished 1952 version. The completed version of the film has not been released with English subtitles on home video, although the film does not contain a lot of dialogue.

Connections with other works

In the context of the principle authors' other works, it is notable that this is not the only Andersen adaptation that this pair animated – Grimault and Prévert also adapted The Steadfast Tin Soldier as Le Petit Soldat (The Little Soldier) (1947), which is included in La table tournante (The turning table) on the deluxe edition of Le Roi et l'oiseau. In the early 1970s, Prévert and Grimault also made two dark animations, one apocalyptic – Le Chien mélomane (The Megalomaniac Dog) (1973), which features a dog wielding a violin that caused destruction at a distance and leaves the world a gray waste (as in the end of Le Roi); both are collected in La table tournante.

Grimault did not directly reuse characters between his animations, but similar characters recur – the twin police officers in Voleur de paratonnerres (The lightning rod thief) are recalled by Le Sir de Massouf in La Flûte magique (The Magic Flute), then reappears as the chief of police in Le Roi et l'Oiseau. Similarly, Gô from Passagers de "La Grande Ourse" (Passengers of "The Big Bear") is recalled by Niglo in Marchand de notes, then becomes the chimney sweep in Le Roi et l'Oiseau.

For Prévert's part, he had previously written a poem about the Neuilly festival, mentioned by the bird ("La Fête à Neuilly", in Histoires, 1946), featuring lions, and a lion character features prominently in Children of Paradise, as do other bombastic characters, recalling and in fact inspiring the bird. He also wrote of birds in "Pour faire le portrait d'un oiseau" (To make [paint] a portrait of a bird) in Paroles (1945), which, fittingly, given the long production of the movie, includes the lines "Parfois l'oiseau arrive vite / mais il peut aussi bien mettre de longues années / avant de se décider" (Often the bird arrives quickly / but he can also take many years / before he decides himself).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Le Roi et l'oiseau" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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