In 1943, in the French Alps, the orphan Sébastien lives in a small village with his grandfather César, who is a shepherd, and his aunt Angélina, who is a baker. Sébastien misses his mother and believes she has traveled to America. He expects to get a watch with compass as a gift from her. The local Dr. Guillaume is a member of the Frech resistance that helps Jewish refugees to flee to Switzerland and the German Lieutenant Peter and troop are hunting down the resistance. When sheep are found slaughtered, César and the other residents believe that a stray dog that has been abused by his owner is the responsible and hunt it down. Sébastien finds the dog, gives the name of Belle to her and they become friends. But the animal is considered a beast by the inhabitants. Will Sébastien be capable to save Belle? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Wonderful Foreign Film About a Boy and His Dog and Helping Refugees
If you have a child who has never seen a foreign film, this would be a great one to start with! Belle and Sebastian is a French movie, by Nicholas Vanier, with English subtitles.
Belle and Sebastian is about a young boy, Sebastian and the friendship he makes with Belle, a large dog. She is being blamed for killing the sheep in the village. In fact, the villagers call her "the beast."
The movie is set in Nazi-occupied France. There are refugees in the village always escaping at night over the snow-covered mountains into Switzerland. Sebastian is told to stay away from both this part of the mountain and "the beast." But, he can't resist. He finds and tries to protect "the beast," who he names Belle.
Sebastian meets up with Belle every day and they run in the fields and play in the snow. He shows her places to hide from the angry villagers and from the German Nazi soldiers. She is Sebastian's friend and he believes that it is not her who is killing the sheep. The scenery in this film is incredible! The snow-covered mountains, grassy hillsides, waterfalls, rocks and panoramic vistas will take your breath away. There are lots of aerial shots in the film that make you wish you lived in France.
Parents should know that there is some drinking, lying and cursing, but the characters are trying to do their best given the given circumstances. It can't be easy having your little village be taken over by soldiers. Over-all, the message this movie gives is a good one. "Protect your friends and always try to do the right thing." I recommend this movie for ages ten to eighteen. This is a great age level to introduce appreciation of sub-titled movies. I give Belle and Sebastian four out of five stars for amazing scenery and great acting.
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