‘Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams’ Review: This ‘Yellow Submarine’-Like French Toon Is a Trip | instastori.com

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It’s Juliette’s 5th birthday, and she tin wish for immoderate she wants. Top of her database is an adventure, nan likes of which this restless woman has only publication astir successful books — specifically, a bid of imagination novels published by a family friend, astir a capricious wizard who controls nan wind. In “Sirocco and nan Kingdom of Air Streams,” a quiet day takes an unpredictable, eye-popping turn, arsenic Juliette (voiced by Loïse Charpentier) and her 8-year-old sister Carmen (Maryne Bertieaux) are whisked distant to a dazzling surreal world of alligator-shaped airships and bird-headed opera divas, wherever seemingly thing tin happen.

Welcome to nan imagination of French head Benoît Chieux, who has crafted — successful nan twelvemonth 2023, against sizeable likelihood — a genuinely spectacular psychedelic excursion successful nan vein of head-trip classics “The Fantastic Planet” and “The Yellow Submarine.” It’s been astir half a period since those 2 movies demonstrated conscionable really liberating nan mean of animation tin be, but you wouldn’t cognize it to watch Chieux’s hand-drawn curio, which takes nan mesmerizing dream logic of specified projects and applies is to an “Alice successful Wonderland”-style plot.

But will kids spell for it? My emotion says that moreover though Chieux and co-writer Alain Gagnol (“A Cat In Paris”) person designed nan acquisition pinch younger viewers successful mind, it’s nan oddity-seeking art-house crowd that will astir admit nan film, which looks arsenic if it was crafted decades agone successful a flurry of imaginative (possibly drug-enhanced) inspiration and past mislaid to time, à la “Son of nan White Mare” aliases Luigi Serafini’s brain-bending “Codex Seraphinianus” (which isn’t animated, but oughta be). So, while intelligibly intended for children, “Sirocco” seems amended suited for mind-altered midnight screenings successful nan years to come.

Audiences meet nan title characteristic first, who’s described arsenic a lonely sorcerer — a floating fig pinch agelong bluish hair, yellowish tegument and a azygous jellyfish eye, peering retired from beneath a floppy, broad-brimmed hat. Sirocco’s temper tin unleash powerful storms, which is why nary 1 other successful nan kingdom dares travel close, aliases truthful we’re told by Agnès (Géraldine Asselin), nan exhausted imagination writer who’s agreed to babysit nan 2 sisters. As successful “The Wizard of Oz,” Sirocco is simply a mysterious, all-powerful characteristic who looms ample and menacing, until a specified kid (in this case, Juliette) proves not to beryllium nan slightest spot intimidated by his threats.

While Agnès lays down for a much-needed nap, Juliette and Carmen play successful her library, wherever a googly-eyed characteristic pops disconnected nan pages of 1 of her books: a talking woody artifact pinch a talent for teleportation, who unwittingly opens a transition arsenic it hopscotches backmost to nan parallel magnitude from whence it came. Following it home, nan 2 girls are instantly transformed, sporting feline heads, whiskers and agelong striped tails. The much cautious of nan sisters, Carmen is wary of their caller surroundings, but Juliette doesn’t look to mind successful nan slightest, recognizing specifications from nan Sirocco books and wanting to research things for herself.

While nan extremity of specified stories is inevitably to get home, for audiences, nan pleasance comes successful discovering each nan different places and characters they brushwood on nan measurement — a look Chieux understands good enough, taking clip to research Sirocco’s realm and rewarding our curiosity astatine each move pinch wondrous (and wonderfully silly) details, for illustration nan godforsaken animal that scuttles crossed nan soil and attaches itself to an exotic-looking mushroom, sprouting mini propellers and puttering disconnected connected nan breeze. Everything, from nan building-block cities piled precocious pinch teetering apartments (no wonderment their denizens fearfulness nan wind!) to nan bubble-blowing euphony container that Juliette brattily knocks connected its head, hooks and holds nan attention, specified that nan crippled hardly matters. And bully thing, since nan book is astatine erstwhile excessively flimsy and overly confusing.

It’s not clear really Agnès is related to these 2 girls, if astatine all, aliases why a characteristic named Selma is truthful cardinal to her Sirocco books. On immoderate level, nan movie serves arsenic a tribute to sisters, who mightiness reason pinch 1 different from clip to time, but stock a special, unbreakable bond. Eventually, it’s revealed that Agnès invented nan Kingdom of Air Currents — nan imagination world wherever each her stories are group — arsenic a measurement of preserving nan representation of her precocious sister, which brings a statement of melancholy to nan different picaresque format.

The clearest denotation of Chieux’s intended reside is nan film’s score, composed by Pablo Pico: delicate soft and ray winds (naturally) that bloom into thing genuinely ethereal erstwhile Selma, nan kingdom’s bird-headed opera diva and a star-crossed emotion liking of sorts for Sirocco, reveals her sound — a series wherever nan film’s unsocial look and sound fuse together brilliantly. Selma’s otherworldly capacity (delivered by Célia Kameni) adds truthful overmuch that Chieux should person embraced that constituent moreover more. Some toons sag erstwhile characters commencement to sing, whereas “Sirocco” practically begs to beryllium a musical.

In immoderate case, Selma takes an instant radiance to Juliette, offering to thief nan woman rescue her sister from a shotgun wedding successful different area of nan kingdom. And truthful nan escapade continues, arsenic Chieux takes his cues from various Studio Ghibli films. For a time, fans wondered who mightiness measurement up to return Hayao Miyazake’s spot erstwhile nan anime maestro retired, and while nary clear successor has emerged, his bequest is live and good astir nan world. “Sirocco” suggests France’s reply to a movie for illustration “Spirited Away,” by measurement of each nan different aforementioned references — and yet, there’s an originality to it that keeps things surprising. In nan end, Juliette gets her wish, but if I had one, it would beryllium that Chieux support sharing his dreams connected nan large screen.