|Index||3 reviews in total|
This delightful short photo essay on the wonders of French topography and architecture takes the right approach to its subject- it never once speaks with a single french person. This is the only way to put a positive spin on the nation! The finest music the French have produced provides a soothing background for the weary Disney World visitor who needs 18 minutes to rest their weary legs and takes a vicarious flight across the neopolitan countryside. After 18 years and 1000's of screenings, it will never date as its images are as inoffensive and cordial as possible.
I think this film is the best single thing in Disney World. If you
define a work of art as using its elements to achieve a desired effect,
this film does it perfectly. Even a mundane scene like riding down a
small creek (the opening scene) or seeing a man chop wood seems magical
when you accompany it with evocative music.
The arrangement of the music is skillfully done. Just to take two examples: the arranger noticed a similar theme in Saint-Saens's AQUARIUM and Ravel's DAPHNE AND CHLOE (D C D C D G) , and made it sound like a theme-with-variations. DAPHNE AND CHLOE, in turn segued into Debussy's CLAIRE DE LUNE with perfect continuity. (NOTE: I looked up the musical sources afterward)
Focusing on the beauty of the countryside and the music meant that the film-makers could avoid any of the messiness of French history -- the persecution of the Huguenots, the frequent revolutions, the colonial abuses in Algeria. That can be worrisome, but as I said, this is an artificial work of art.
The most successful travel programs are those which inspire the
audience actually to visit the locations filmed. This (welcome)
sit-down presentation at Disney World, housed in a replica of the
Versailles theater, did the trick for me. Over the years, I've tried to
visit as many of the shooting locations as possible.
There is minimal offscreen narration, in French-accented English, with a continuous music track of 19th century French chestnuts linked together by Disney's music man, the late Buddy Baker.
This is a half-circle film, extending beyond peripheral vision but not behind. Disney had pioneered the nine-camera Circle Vision process for a Disneyland ride in the late 50s and eventually rang several changes on the original.
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