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Parents, you children will NOT see this delightful film unless you stay up all night and tape if for them (if you live in USA). This film is rated "Mature audiences", which means American television cannot show it except on premium cable in the middle of the night. The reason for this is that women in West Africa have never worn anything above the waist, and they are authentically illustrated, without guilt or shame, in their every-day clothing. Not suitable for children in the USA, but perfectly alright in the rest of the world.
Kirikou and The Sorceress is a story of a very small but extremely
brave boy, Kirikou, born in a little village somewhere in Africa.
Kirikou can walk and talk already when he is born and he starts to set
things right in his village. He is very determined and always finds a
solution, whatever the problem is. There is an evil sorceress, Karaba,
who is tormenting Kirikou's village. She has to be bribed and soothed
constantly, she has dried the well and she threatened she will eat all
the men from the village... and there are not many of them left. Brave
warriors have vanished, possibly have been devoured by the witch, when
they tried to fight him. Little Kirikou decides it is not wise to fight
Karaba, but to negotiate with her. One day Kirikou walks to the hut of
Extremely beautiful, thrilling story, told in brilliant tones of color and folklore. Very down-to-earth and descriptive by the ways of African life: women naked above the waist, carrying water from long distances, making food, the village elders passing on the stories to the younger ones. My seven year old son, who is used to see the usual smoothed-out, big money animations, was hesitating at first when I showed him the movie. He said the cover looked "funny" and different, and it does. When the movie started, he couldn't stop watching it, he was totally captivated by the story and I enjoyed it very much as well. Excellent story, great animation, rich colors, folklore mixed with everyday life and superstition, great original music by Youssou N'Dour. Highly recommendable. Choose this over any talking funny animals-video.
This film, all too limited in its British cinema release, is fortunately now available both on video (a mere £5.99) and on DVD from the BFI. Exquisitely designed, wholly engaging and both ethnic and universal, this African tale is equally appealing to children and adults. As well as being entertaining, it is possessed of genuine wisdom while also being unpretentious. It also has real charm as opposed to the calculated kind found in 'Amelie'. It attains all it set out to achieve and is the film I admire the most of all that I saw which were released in Britain during 2003.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kirikous and the Sorceress is a piece of African animation, supposedly
I loved the drawing, I loved the African flavor, and I even loved the theme song which I have at home and play from time to time.
But the best thing about it was something else.
The story of the evil Sorceress is that back when she was young and sweet, some men held her down and pushed a thorn into her back. Living with the agony of that made her mean and evil to the point where she does not even look the same. She looks hard and old.
She rides the crest of her evil to where she is the most powerful person, and no one can oppose her. She has the villagers living poor, she has all their gold, and she takes their men.
She won't let anyone take the thorn out because she knows the process will be hellish, so she just lives with the pain, becoming more and more evil all the time. I could see that this was a metaphor for anyone that needs healing from a traumatic event, but it hit the nail on the head for bitter women. It made me think of my own experiences as well.
Also the grandfather reminded me very much of Ausar or Obatala, African deities.
I was already entertained by Kirikou, but having a sophisticated bit of substance slipped in there when I wasn't looking was a beautiful surprise.
In America, the answer to the villager's problem would have been to cut the Sorceress' head off or some such thing.
In Kirikous and the Sorceress, the solution is very "African".
Heal the person and put them back in balance, and everyone will be better off for it.
I've always had this idea that popcorn and Coke were added to fill a void that most film storylines leave untouched. That such a void can filled at all, simply by bloating out stomachs with toasted corn and carbonated sugar water, is a subject that might well be worth entering into, another day. "Kirikou et la sorcière" has the spartan charm of so many stories and fables from Africa. It is as if the scarcity of food and water that illustrated in this story - as in so many like it - had, in turn, to be compensated by making the fable rich in wondrous colourful fantasy and highly nourishing in details that describe the frequently comical and pathetic side to human behaviour. The travesty I see is that, while this film is available in German, French and Spanish, puritans in countries like the US and the UK have, once again, determined that - in an effort at sparing depraved censors the discomfort of twitching at the sight of happily naked village kids and their semi naked mothers - my children shall not be allowed to learn about life in cultures other than their own, nor to hear lessons of great wisdom but may, instead, freely view animated violence and large doses of their own recycled high school yarns. Cannibalise cartoon & eat Pokemon!
A beautifully realized animated film about, on a simplistic level, a
child, who, by his wits, saves his village from the evil sorceress,
Karaba. But it's much more than that, if we pay attention. For the
question the child, Kirikou, keeps asking is, "Why is Karaba so
mean and evil?" It is the answer to that question, and Kirikou's
response, that lifts this film above the ordinary.
It also has a great sound track by Youssou N'Dour.
Unfortunately, it's not an easy film to find, so if it it ever turns up
a station near you, make sure your VCR is ready.
My two girls (aged 5 and 7) have been exposed to plenty of Disney razz-ma-tazz, but this low-key movie nonetheless kept them glued to their seats. A great tale, told with energy, charm and plenty of humour. A guaranteed winner for the 10-and-under set, and a refreshing treat for any parent who normally has to accompany children to dreck like "Inspector Gadget" or "Flu
"Kirikou and the Sorceress" (1998 - 71 minutes) is a Franc-Belgian animation of highest quality, based on a Western Africa traditional legend. Written and directed by Michel Ocelot tells the history of Kiriku, a very small boy who already spoke when still in his mother belly. His fate: to face the powerful and evil Karabá sorceress, who dried the water source of his village, swallowed all the men who went to fight her and that still caught all the gold they had. To achieve his goals, Kiriku has to face many dangerous situations and venture for places where only a very small person could enter. At first, his tribe laughs at his small size, delaying to recognize his courage, brightness and wisdom. But Kiriku faces the power of the sorceress and her guardians, while the others can only fell fear of her. Kiriku goes to consult the wise old man of the mountain, who knows the secret of Karabá and, after that, goes to face the terrible sorceress. According to Michel Ocelot his film is a great chance to show to the African people some of their values. The script runs away from the obvious situations, has captivating characters and sound track signed by the Senegalian Yossou N ' Dour. A fascinating story of determination in the fight for freedom.
To the contrary of what has been said, I had no trouble finding an English language Kirikou DVD at my local library. For that matter, I found the dubbing to be very well done. Kirikou is an excellent story on it's own, never mind being a traditional west-African folk tale. The tiny Kirikou is born into an African village which a sorceress called Karaba has terrible power over. The spring has dried up, and the men reported eaten. No sooner is Kirikou born, but he begins a mission to save his relatives and discover the truth in the world about him. This is a great movie for younger audiences to learn from, and a beautiful film entirely.
This was a wonderful movie that should be watched by adults AND children together. The story is perfect metaphor (in the tradition of many fairy tales) for the situation of many African nations and yet is enjoyable as a story in and of itself. The "parental alert" is absurd, though. I would hate for parents to prevent their children from viewing this movie because many of the characters appear partially or wholly nude, as people are traditionally "dressed" in warm/hot regions of the world.
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