HomeNews & Views Foreign Flick Friday: César-Winning French Film Brings Warmth & Whimsy

Foreign Flick Friday: César-Winning French Film Brings Warmth & Whimsy

 

When a little boy nicknamed “Zucchini” takes an accidental role in the death of his alcoholic mother, he is sent to live in an orphanage with other parent-less and formerly abused or neglected children. Not exactly the cheerful premise we expect from a stop-motion animated film, but My Life as a Zucchini (alternately translated as My Life as a Courgette) doesn’t stop challenging our expectations there!

The story tackles many of the hard truths we learn while growing up with a compelling—if unusual—mix of frankness, empathy, and whimsy, causing some viewers to question whether indeed it’s intended for a child, young adult, or adult audience. On this point, The New York Times concludes: “Viewers who have read contemporary young-adult literature will be able to handle it, though their parents may feel uncomfortable at times. Children of Zucchini’s age or younger might be freaked out.”1 The Guardian, meanwhile, calls it “Ken Loach for Kids.” 2 And what does the Céline Sciamma, who adapted the film’s screenplay, have to say?

“You often find with animation, the Pixar movies, the Disney movies, that the filmmakers are trying to give adults some reason to bear the film—they’re winking at them, adding all these levels of reading it. Courgette is the opposite, everybody’s watching the same film, we don’t wink at anyone.” 3

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American viewers may also anticipate Zucchini to find himself in Little Orphan Annie’s shoes—trudging through a series of never-ending and dreary obstacles, with the likes of cruel Ms. Hannigan at the helm, but this couldn’t be farther from the case. The orphanage here provides a warm and nurturing environment for these young people to learn anew about trust, friendship, and love—things Zucchini and his new housemates thought no longer real or even possible.

Screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and Oscar-nominated, My Life as a Zucchini is winner of two César awards among many others. 4 

So find out what’s got everybody talking about this little boy with thick locks of blue hair, an orange nose, and a name that seems more akin to something you’d find in a summer salad… You won’t be disappointed.

It’s movie night!  Watch the trailer with us. Intrigued? Go a step further and pre-order on streaming services to watch the full film shortly. Then let us know what you think @LeadWLanguages on social media.

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