Girl Without Hands (La jeune fille sans mains), Th (NR) Release Date: September 22nd, 2017
Runtime: 1 hr. 13 min.
Director: Sébastien Laudenbach
Genres: Drama, Animation
Starring: Anaïs Demoustier, Jérémie Elkaïm, Philippe Laudenbach, Olivier Broche
Ends Thursday, 9/28 - Sébastien Laudenbach’s “The Girl Without Hands” is an animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same title. Although this film’s style is soft and colorful, it does not rub out the emotional sharpness of a story dealing with betrayal, suicide and death. An impoverished miller (voiced by Olivier Broche) unwittingly sells his daughter (Anaïs Demoustier) for a never-ending river of gold, unaware he’s dealing with the Devil (Philippe Laudenbach, the director’s father). Since the Devil cannot touch a girl so pure and clean, he persuades the father to chop off her hands, which had been washed by her tears. In turn, she leaves her father in disgust, making her way in the world until happening upon a prince (Jérémie Elkaïm), the sympathetic and caring figure her parent never was. Yet it’s hardly happily ever after for a young woman running from the Devil.Perhaps more striking than the adaptation of the harsh narrative is the movie’s animation style. Mr. Laudenbach’s drawing eschews clean ink lines for a minimalist and impressionist aesthetic. He allows the water color swatches that stand in for characters and landscapes to create a dreamlike world that appears poetically endless. When lines do appear, they are thick and textured, like those of a sumi-e painting from Asia. The result is a dazzlingly imaginative movie about survival. Left on her own, the woman in the story proves capable of taking care of herself, and later her child, once the constraints of comfort and gender roles are cast off. -Monica Castillo, New York Times CRITICS PICK!In French with English subtitles.
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