“Le voyage en Charabie” of the bear and the mouse is a mischievous fable, which tells the little ones about the difference, the arbitrary and the dictatorship. An ode to freedom.
Characters created by Gabrielle Vincent, Ernest the big grumpy bear and Célestine the mischievous little mouse are both stars of children’s literature and cinema. Heroes of dozens of albums, the duo of friends was on the bill for a first film, co-directed by Benjamin Renner and written by Daniel Pennac, then a TV series, and another feature film by animation derived from the series. “Ernest and Célestine” return to the cinema in “Le voyage en Charabie”, directed by Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger (released on December 14).
“Animation is a bit magical, you learn it by doing it”, said Julien Chheng, during a preview of the film at the Star in Strasbourg. Animator on the first “Ernest and Celestine” who became a director on the series, he explained to the many children present the role of “conductor” of the director, and the long production of a traditional animated film, by hand , a hundred people who worked for two and a half years, at the infernal rate of one second of film per day!
A world of silence
Ernest once again has the voice of Lambert Wilson, and Célestine that of Pauline Brunner, for this “Voyage en Charabie”, an imaginary country which is the native land of the bear. A homeland where he has no desire to return, even to go to the only luthier capable of repairing his violin, a stradivarours, unfortunately broken. It is therefore alone, the violin under her arm, that Célestine leaves, ready to face a storm in a snowy mountain. Joined by her faithful friend, it is finally together that the little smiley and the “big patapouf” arrive in Charabie. A country that “party all the time, with music everywhere”, said Ernest le Charabien.
But on the other side of the mountain, they discover a world of silence, you can’t hear anything, not a single note of music. Finally if, a: the do, the only note now authorized in the country, where the pianos have only one key and the harps only one string. Applying the local motto, “It’s like that and not otherwise” (parental diktat that many children hear), a law prohibits music to the inhabitants of Charabie. An absurd decision that this Ernestof law taken by Ernest’s father, an authoritarian judge who was counting on his son succeeding him, as is the Charabian tradition.
A delicate and poetic universe
It was to escape this pre-determined destiny and to become a musician that Ernest had fled his native country, where the police now hunt for notes. Pushed by Célestine, they will join the musical resistance, a movement which has its hero, Mifasol, a sort of saxophonist blue elf, and his secret liberation orchestra which plays forbidden melodies in an underground cabaret. To “free the music”, Ernest and Célestine will experience a thousand adventures in this film faithful to their delicate and poetic universe, pastel colors and sketched illustrations, in a colorful Charabie with inventive graphics.
“Célestine prevents Ernest from giving up music”, says Julien Chheng, who lists the subjects evoked by this story, “the return to origins, the weight of tradition and rules”, destiny, the fact of following a rather than another, prohibitions and injustices, arbitrarily justified by the famous phrase: “It’s like that and not otherwise”. By showing an oppressed world, this “Voyage en Charabie” is an ode to freedom, a mischievous fable that tells children about difference, arbitrariness and dictatorship. First imagining the sadness of a world without music, this film ends up being joyful, with festive musical sequences, to tunes inspired in particular by Eastern European folklore, proving that there is never too much strings or too many notes!
“Ernest and Célestine, Le Voyage en Charabie”, animated film directed by Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger (released on December 14).
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“Ernest and Célestine” release the music
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