Coppelia – Film newspaper

It’s not the first time live-action footage and animation have been combined, but this seamless interplay of actors, dance, music, drawings and 2D/3D animation is rare enough to stand out. A new experience.

Anyone who wants to see something special in the cinema, and also a nice summer film for young and old, is allowed Coppelia not missing. That has nothing to do with the story, a classically tinted fairy tale with a playful slant in which the budding love between Zwaantje and Frans is threatened by the perfect, seductive beauty of Coppelia. Because we know stories about true love. Even though the seducer in this case is a robot woman created by the cunning cosmetic doctor Dr. Coppelius.

No what Coppelia what makes it so special is that the actors are dancers who move in a painted world, with computer-animated figures as opponents. All without dialogue (although there will be a version with a narrator added).

Its origins are a humorous ballet from 1870, in which Dr. Coppelius was still a doll maker. The film is based on the version that Dutch National Ballet performed a few years ago. That dance company also participated in the film, but this one Coppelia is not simply a registration of the performance. It is a new creation by initiator Jeff Tudor, who shares the direction with Steven De Beul and Ben Tesseur of the Belgian Beast Animation. The film premiered at Annecy’s leading animation festival to critical acclaim.

The fact that the flowing combination of dance and animation works so well is of course due to the fact that both techniques distance themselves from realism. You would this Coppelia also an ode to the silent film of yesteryear.

All very clever and beautiful, that’s for sure, and yet I found it less impressive than I had hoped. Especially in the first half, with an abundance of pastel shades in a town where life is cheerful and good, I got the feeling that the feel-good character is being overplayed. The tone and design are also slightly less challenging than the opening images promise. It is therefore almost a relief when Dr. Coppelius lands with his spaceship-like clinic. The tighter lines and more angular shapes refer loosely to the expressionism of the previous 1920s, although Coppelia does not use the robot woman Metropolis (1927).

Missed opportunities or a conscious choice Coppelia not too grim? In any case, the nods to contemporary phenomena and the obsession with appearance are successful. Who in the clinic of Dr. Coppelius has been treated, suddenly sees a completely different (animated) version of himself in the mirror. Nobody notices that it is an illusion, from which feeling and personality have disappeared. The Doctor stole those traits to infuse his robots with. But when he thinks he will make his big move with the amorous heart of Frans, he has not counted on the enterprising Zwaantje, who gives the story a big boost. Prelude to a colorful denouement.

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Coppelia – Film newspaper

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