April und die außergewöhnliche Welt (2015)

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April und die außergewöhnliche Welt: Directed by Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci. With Marion Cotillard, Marc-André Grondin, Philippe Katerine, Jean Rochefort. It’s 1941 but France is trapped in the nineteenth century, governed by steam and Napoleon V, where scientists vanish mysteriously. Avril (Marion Cotillard), a teenage girl, goes in search of her missing scientist parents.

“u0026quot;Steampunk is … a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!u0026quot; George Mann u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eApril and the Extraordinary World is an animated French adventure for the whole family (I recommend about 8 years and older) reminiscent of the fantastic u0026#39;toons of Hayao Miyazaki (think of Howlu0026#39;s Moving Castle). Leading us through an alternate steampunk history of modern France, April (voice of Marion Cotillard) is a little girl whose scientist parents in 1941 were abducted by the u0026quot;Empireu0026quot; to advance the cause, in this case by creating an immortality drug.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWith her charming talking cat(a product of the scientistsu0026#39; experiments), April spends her youth confronting malevolent forces like a driven policeman (Javert anyone?), a roguish boy, and nature itself. Not one moment of the 1 hr 45 min is wasted; each is crafted under the expert direction of Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci for maximum adventure and humanity (for example, love may be blooming and Grandpa Pops is feistier than ever).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe graphics as well are outstanding in the steampunk visual style with the omnipresent steam and pipes, furtive surveillance rodents, bicycle-powered blimps, and suspended trolleys, among some of the creative expressions. Although great advances such as the use of electricity and oil have not been discovered, the above-mentioned steam objects awe April as she navigates this alternate universe of coal and wood.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eConservationists shouldnu0026#39;t despair, for there are numerous references to the need to use coal, for instance, responsibly—already coughs are in the ambient sound. The suggestion that without the invention and use of atomic energy and fossil fuel, the world could have been stuck in an ecological disaster is an intriguingly benign take on modern energy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe extraordinary April and the Extraordinary World is nothing if not an invitation for girls to follow their dreams and create as their talents demand. For all children it is a call to be bold and responsible as they enter the real modern world.”

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