KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS
A film by Michel Ocelot
Based on a traditional West African folk tale, the film tells a story of the 10cm tall Kirikou, a small boy who delivers himself from his mother's womb to emerge walking and talking. Kirikou undertakes a perilous journey in order to discover the secret of the evil sorceress, who had cursed his village, eating up the men-folk and drying up the spring.
Director Michel Ocelot's rich animation plunges his audiences deep into the African bush, a place of myth and spirituality. The animation style and setting are unapologetically African with no attempts to westernise the people or setting. The drawings of plants and trees in Kirikou are stylised reproductions of real tropical flora, inspired by Egyptian drawings and paintings by Henri Rousseau.
The specially commissioned score by Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour uses only traditional African instruments. The soundtrack adds another rich layer to this magical African fairytale, a treat for adults and children alike.
France, Luxembourg, Belgium | 1998 | colour animation | French language with English subtitles + English language version | 2 x 70 minutes | Ratio 4x3 | Region 2 DVD
This movie is nothing like your standard cartoon offering - the story is simple and pure, the animation is crisp, the music is enchanting, there is no attempt to dress-up the story, and the representation of West African culture is pretty fair.
If you can (or your kids can) understand any French then try to watch the movie in its original language, the songs and the dialogue work much better, plus the accentation of the English dubbing is questionable (while all the accents are African they span the whole continent so it sounds very "dubbed").
The DVD pack comes with a bonus disk which is interesting and fun, but only in French.
All in all I cannot recommend this more highly. This is a great movie that kids will watch over and over again.