Germany | France | Canada 2016
Opening February 28, 2019
Directed by: Christian Haas, Andrea Block
Writing credits: Axel Melzener, Andrea Block, Phil Parker
Principal actors: Animation: Kate Winslet, Willem Dafoe; Oliver Kalkofe, Friederich Mücke, Cassandra Steen, Dodokay
This little gem of a children’s film is a kind of Jungle Book for birds. Manou, a swift (in German that’s a Mauersegler) is hatched by mistake in a seagull’s nest. The seagull community reluctantly agrees to give the weird-looking little bird a chance to be raised as a proper seagull.
It’s hard going for a little swift who thinks he’s supposed to be a gull. At school the little gulls learn to leap off the cliff, coast and dive for fish. Plucky Manou does his best and nearly drowns in the waves. But things change for the better when he meets a few young swifts and learns a thing or two about his own talents.
The message is positive for everyone in these confrontational times: respect each other despite your differences and work together! The animation is beautifully placed in a specific region: the birds live on hills and cliffs facing Nice, and in the evening light the Promenade des Anglais shines pink in the sunset. From the air the birds have a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Riviera, the roofs of the old village in Nice and romantic clifftop ruins.
I recommend this film to everyone who needs a dose of beauty to chase away the doldrums of late winter weather. (Ann G-T.)