Kirikou And The Sorceress

Intriguing animated African folk tale

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A jerky, episodic, two-dimensional cartoon about a diminutive warrior and his isolated African village, Kirikou And The Sorceress seems hysterically quaint in a global animation market defined by ironic CGI behemoths from Disney and DreamWorks (Toy Story, Shrek and the up’n’coming Finding Nemo).

Still, French animator Michel Ocelot adapts this west African legend with seductive simplicity, illustrating the adventures of supernaturally gifted homunculus Kirikou (Theo Sebeko) and his skirmishes with the baby-killing, man-eating, water-stealing sorceress Karaba (Antoinette Kellermann) via a stark formal palette that’s somewhere between Namibian pictogram and Chris Ofili collage. And yet, for all its ostensible simplicity, this is a cartoon with a wealth of intriguing subtext, including the spectre of drought and casual infanticide, and the ubiquitous banality of death. Elsewhere, the tiny pre-pubescent protagonist is driven by his blatantly Oedipal desire for the scary, castrating, big-breasted Sorceress. The Disney remake should be just around the corner.


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