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Charlotte: A life in colour by Bibo Bergeron

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- Bibo Bergeron’s new film, based on the life of painter Charlotte Salomon, was pitched at Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux

Charlotte: A life in colour by Bibo Bergeron
Charlotte by Bibo Bergeron

Bibo Bergeron is definitely treading a new path with Charlotte. His next feature, a French-Belgian-Canadian co-production involving Les Productions Balthazar, Walking the Dog, Les Films du Poisson and Folimage, is a 3D movie with 2D elements, which is full of European references and will target a young-adult audience. It was pitched at this year’s edition of Cartoon Movie.

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Charlotte will depict the life of Charlotte Salomon, a 26-year-old Jewish German painter, who was forced to run from the Nazis and who chose to tell her story through paintings. “She deserves to be renowned,” began Bergeron. “I want to show that art can save your soul, as she did.”

The director has myriad references in mind in order to make Charlotte into a painted diary film with a deep contemporary resonance: Waltz with Bashir [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Persepolis [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marc-Antoine Robert
interview: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Pa…
film profile
]
will serve as inspiration for the mood when dealing with the subject matter of exile, Ernest and Célestine [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Benjamin Renner, Vincent Pa…
film profile
]
and Long Way North [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
will inspire the render and the colour palette, while Julien Bisaro’s work (Bang Bang!) will help with the animation. “I really want to move the audience using Charlotte’s vocabulary. She never used black; every single shadow always has a glimpse of blue. The 3D will make her life real, while the 2D aspect should keep it simple and even help us to find the grace in simplicity, like Long Way North.”

The creative team was united around the motto “finding Charlotte’s essence”, with character design by Manddy Wyckens and art direction by François Moret, a long-time partner of Bergeron’s. Mélanie Laurent is slated to provide the voice of Charlotte in the French version. Particular emphasis is being placed on the music: the makers are seeking a modern genre that lies somewhere between Canadian songwriter Patrick Watson and alternative rock bands such as alt-J.

On the production side, “It is super-challenging,” admitted Eric Goossens (of Walking the Dog), “as the character, story and render are delicate.” Immense efforts are being made to keep the budget of the film as low as possible, and the division of the work is still under discussion. The €10 million project is in the middle of pre-production and should be released in 2019.

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