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FILMS France

A tell-tale film


David Lowe, the author of Un beau matin... (Once upon a morning...), cinematic toy-store full of traditional fables told in a new (dis)order, has himself had a mixed career. Indeed, this Oxford graduate quit nuclear physics to become a clown and gifted multi-task artist. After five shorts, he decided to co-direct a full-length children's feature with his French wife Charlotte Lowe. In Un beau matin..., they guide their two boys through the paintings of a musical exhibition of Prokofiev's works featuring the epic 'Peter and the Wolf', as well as 'Romeo and Juliet' and the romantic 'Winter Bonfire'. Cineuropa met the director in Paris.

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This €120,000 (including the transfer to film) Buster Keaton film for children, which, Lowe says, proceeds from the intention to create something 'really faithful to Prokofiev's pieces', was produced by the authors and shot with a digital camera kindly lent by Nova Magazine. It was also supported by the SACEM and France Musique.

What makes this film —in which, according to its authors, 'Monty Python meets Méliès'— special is the fact that it maintains a narrative complexity which child psychologist Bruno Bettelheimu nderlined is essential to a child's intellectual development, using all kind of performing arts (from circus to TV to Beckett's theatre) and all kinds of well-known sources of inspiration for a child's imagination (moving lights, electric trains...). The idea, Lowe explains, is to blur the distinction between reality and its representations and unite them all in a slightly irrational film "which speaks the children's language" and leads the young spectator to interpret and actively make up his own stuff —since the elements of the narrative can be combined in an infinite number of ways, as the suspense in the title indicates....

The film, which won the Ciné Môme Prize at the Festival Paris Cinéma and was selected for La Rochelle, is distributed by Pretty Pictures starting today.

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(Translated from French)

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