Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess: Four Enchanting Tales

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess: Four Enchanting Tales
"The framing device has a more 'grown-up' sweep, but it is younger children who are likely to get the most out of these simple stories, which often involve a repetition of phrases or ideas in the way of many traditional fairy tales."

For his latest enjoyable, if slight, animation, Michel Ocelot draws - as with his most famous work concerning Kirikou - on myths from around the world. These four tales will take in Persian, Indian and Russian art among others, with Ocelot using the relevant influences to create colourful backdrops against which his silhouette tales play out, evoking the spirit of The Adventures Of Prince Achmed.

The framing device is a modern teacher and his pupils who, in a rundown cinema, discuss each of the tales - particularly with reference to gender stereotypes - before trying to recreate them anew. It's a neat device and one which gently probes at the 'traditional' roles of men and women in fairy tale in a way that is intended for a young audience.

Copy picture

The first story, the Mistress Of Monsters, is probably the strongest of the bunch, in which a young girl takes on succession of bad guys. Shape-shifting is, perhaps inevitably given Ocelot's style of animation, a strong theme throughout most of the stories, including the Ivan Tsarevitch tale of the title - and youngsters are likely to enjoy the creative mix of monsters that he creates.

The framing device has a more 'grown-up' sweep, but it is younger children who are likely to get the most out of these simple stories, which often involve a repetition of phrases or ideas in the way of many traditional fairy tales from Red Riding Hood to The Three Little Pigs. There is also a bracing open-endedness to some of them, likely to encourage discussion with youngsters - and flights of their own imagination - after the film has finished.

Reviewed on: 30 Nov 2017
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Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess: Four Enchanting Tales packshot
Four animated tales give a twist to tradition.

Director: Michel Ocelot

Writer: Michel Ocelot

Starring: Marine Griset, Julien Béramis, Michel Elias, Olivier Claverie, Yves Barsacq, Olivia Brunaux, Isabelle Guiard, Michel Ocelot, Asil Raïs

Year: 2016

Runtime: 53 minutes

Country: France


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