Tales of the Night (2011, Michel Ocelot)

Michel Ocelot presents these six inventive fairytales using silhouette animation and the latest 3-D technology.  Tales of the Night is a bewitching mixture of classical storytelling with a modern sensibility.  Ocelot is inspired by traditional folk tales from around the world, as well as real events; the human sacrifice rituals performed by the Aztecs for instance, but the resulting stories are witty and fresh.
The Werewolf’
Ocelot riffs on a familiar theme in fairytales, transformation.  A handsome horseman marries a woman because he mistakenly believes she was the one who sent him gifts while he was in prison.  So he reveals his terrible secret to her on their wedding day. 
‘Ti-Jean and Beauty Not-Known’
Young Ti Jean breezes into the Land of the Dead and finds himself faced with an impossible set of tasks by the King of the Underworld.  Can Ti Jean win the hand of the King’s daughter Beauty Not-Known?  Does the laid back young adventurer even care?
‘The Chosen One of the City of Gold’
A stranger is appalled to find the beautiful women of the City of Gold are all sad.  The reason for this soon becomes clear.  They are to be sacrificed to a mysterious creature which keeps the city intact.  The stranger resolves to end this barbaric practice once and for all but must face down both the monster and the people who follow it. 
‘Tom-Tom Boy’
Tom-Tom annoys the hell out of the villagers in his small African town by using makeshift objects as drums.  When an old man teaches him to use a magic drum he finds he has the power to make people dance. 
‘The Boy Who Never Lied’
A boy with a talking horse has a reputation for always being honest.  The King of Tibet place a bet with his cousin on that the boy will never tell a lie no matter what.  The cousin gets his daughter to play a cruel trick on the boy and tries to manipulate him into lying.
‘The Girl-Doe and the Architect’s Son’
A sorcerer turns a woman into a doe in front of her lover.  So he embarks on a quest to find The Caress Fairy who can turn his love back into a human again.
Though children will enjoy this animated film, there is a dark heart behind many of the stories.  Ocelot’s tales acknowledge death.  They show love can be cruel, people even more so, particularly in ‘The Boy Who Never Lied’ which ends with a grievous loss.  Tales of the Night should appeal to those who admire revisionist versions of fairytales such as Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves (1984).

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