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A Town Called Panic (2009)

Panique au village (original title)
1:32 | Trailer

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Animated plastic toys like Cowboy, Indian and Horse have problems, too. Cowboy and Indian's plan to surprise Horse with a homemade birthday gift backfires when they destroy his house ... See full summary »


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The year's end celebrations are coming. Christmas : the tree, the dinner, the presents. Indian and Cowboy are expecting their presents eagerly. Overexcited by the organization of the ... See full summary »

Directors: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar
Stars: Bruce Ellison, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar


Cast overview, first billed only:
Stéphane Aubier ...
Coboy / Max Briquenet / Mr. Ernotte (voice)
Madame Longrée (voice)
Nicolas Buysse ...
Mouton / Jean-Paul (voice)
François De Brigode ...
Journaliste sportif (voice)
Véronique Dumont ...
Janine (voice)
Bruce Ellison ...
Indien (voice)
Christine Grulois ...
Vache / Étudiante (voice)
Frédéric Jannin ...
Gendarme / Gérard / Livreur de briques (voice)
Facteur / Simon / Vache (voice)
Christelle Mahy ...
Poule (voice)
Eric Muller ...
Rocky Gaufres / Étudiant chorale 1 (voice)
François Neycken ...
Cochon (voice) (as François Neyken)
Vincent Patar ...
Cheval / Maman atlante (voice)
Pipou ...
Rire de Michel (voice)
Franco Piscopo ...
Ours (voice)


Animated plastic toys like Cowboy, Indian and Horse have problems, too. Cowboy and Indian's plan to surprise Horse with a homemade birthday gift backfires when they destroy his house instead. Surreal adventures take over as the trio travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra and discover a parallel underwater universe where pointy-headed (and dishonest!) creatures live. With panic a permanent feature of life in this papier mâché town, will Horse and his girlfriend ever be alone? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They came... They saw... They panicked...


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Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

17 June 2009 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

A Town Called Panic  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,850 (USA) (18 December 2009)


$165,349 (USA) (16 July 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in 260 days. See more »


Steven: [eats two pieces of toast, each covering an entire table, while levitating upside down] Delicious toast!
[smashes through a giant coffee cup]
Steven: Excellent coffee!
See more »


Featured in La fabrique de panique (2010) See more »


Berceuse (Dolly, Op. 56)
Written by Gabriel Fauré
Performed by The Boston Symphony Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa
See more »

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User Reviews

Revels in simplicity and jerkiness of stop-motion
18 November 2009 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

(In French, 75 min.) This feature-length stop-motion animation that appeared at Cannes is based on the Belgian TV series by Stephane Auber and Vincent Patar. It's a film all made up using tiny figurines to tell the story of a journey to the center of the earth whre a parallel society of pointy-headed and dishonest creatures reigns. Voices of French actors Jeanne Balibar (The Duchess of Langeais) and Benoît Poelvoorde (of Man Bites Dog) are heard. The filmmakers revel in the jerkiness of the figures in (stop) motion.

You might not know this is the same stop-motion technique used in Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Auber and Patar have collaborated ( and voice two main characters) in a film that's not only simpler and more primitive in effect (figures even have little stands on the bottom like plaster toys) but more truly uniquely for children. Clearly this cast and crew had more modest means and objectives and motives. They didn't get glamorous superstars to voice the parts and they worked visibly from scratch, bringing to life recreations of kids' little Plasticine toys, a typically mismatched collection including a horse, an Indian, a cowboy, mechanical tractors, a piano lesson, and moving them around on surfaces that could be a village, or could be a train set or a display under a Christmas tree.

These are actually spin-offs from a TV series that Belgian, French, and maybe French Canadian kids would know. They were featured in five-minute films on the arty but widely watched French TV outlet Canal Plus and later dubbed by "Wallace and Gromit" producer Aardman Animations for export to other outlets such as Nicktoons in the U.S.; they can be found on YouTube.

The Town Called Panic effect is much more boldly artificial and crude than the stuffed but charming furry creatures in Wes Anderson's film. This is a thing of slapstick and chases, upended figures and screeches and scrambles. "An antic little joy ride," the Variety reviewer has called it, and that's about right. Shown November 13 at the San Francisco Film Society's 4th Annual Animation Festivial as one of three animated features (the others: Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox and Tarik Saleh's Metropia), it enjoyed a preview at Film Forum in New York the following week, and begins a limited US theatrical release at Film Forum December 16. The feature is not dubbed like the Aardman Animations shorts, which is better to capture the flavor of the original, of course.

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