The Painting

Even though we’re currently on the two-DVDs-at-a-time plan, Netflix sent us a third disc today. There was no explanation, but a notice on the web page let us know it was intentional. I guess it must be a Christmas gift – or (Phillip’s theory) a hook to get us to upgrade. No matter – we appreciated the surprise.

We watched one of those DVDs tonight: an animated French film from 2011 named The Painting (La tableau). Neither one of us can figure out how we’d heard of this film. The most likely explanation for a situation like this is that we saw a trailer for it on some other disc. But nothing about the film looked familiar, so we don’t know how we knew of it.

We like to watch films in their original language, with subtitles if necessary, so, not knowing anything about it at first, we accidentally started watching it in dubbed English, and kept on watching it that way.

Anyway, The Painting is terrific. I strongly recommend it.

The Painting takes place within the world of an unfinished painting. The people who live in this world are divided into three classes: The Allduns, The Halfies, and The Sketchies. (I’m sure they have other names in French.) The Allduns have been fully painted. They consider themselves the upper class, and look down on, and mistreat, the partly-painted Halfies and the barely-there, fragile Sketchies. The Halfies and The Sketchies are waiting for The Painter to return, finish the painting, and make everyone equal.

At the center of it are an Alldun boy and a Halfie girl, and their forbidden love.

That may seem clichéd, and that’s exactly what I was thinking through the first several minutes of The Painting. But then the story took off in some very unexpected directions. I had no idea where the adventure was going to take me, and the ending took me completely by surprise.

The animation is gorgeous, original, and inventive. It looks unlike any Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli movie I’ve ever seen. It feels very much like a painting, actually.

Go rent The Painting – or stream it.

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