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 Princes and Princesses (French:  ) is a 2000 Frenchmarker silhouette animation feature film written and directed by Michel Ocelot and released in 2000. It is a compilation movie of the 1989 television series Ciné si.


Plot

La Princesse des diamants
It is said that somewhere, an enchanted princess lies captive in a secret palace – a palace you can be sure that you're getting close to if you find diamonds lying in the grass. But in order to free the princess from the curse placed upon her, one would have to find all one-hundred and eleven of the diamonds which make up her broken necklace. Many princes have attempted to break the spell, but all have disappeared without a trace.An original story by Michel Ocelot; nominated for the César Award for best short animated film in 1989.

Le Garçon des figues
In the age of the Pharaohs, an honest young man is gifted a magical fig-tree which sprouts fruit in the middle of winter. In honour of this miracle, he endeavours to present the figs to the queen of Egyptmarker. However, a malicious royal steward would rather have it otherwise.Based on an ancient Egyptian tale.
La Sorcière
In northern Europe during the middle ages, a medieval king promises his daughter's hand in marriage to any man that can infiltrate the fortress of an evil sorceress, guarded by all manner of mechanical monsters. Is it possible that simple unarmed boy can succeed where knights and princes have failed?An original story by Michel Ocelot.
Le Manteau de la vieille dame
In Japanmarker during the time of Hokusai (the early 19th century to be exact) an adorable old poet-woman is travelling home when a devious bandit catches sight of her beautiful, expensive coat, and devises a plan to take it from her before the night is up. But unknown to him, she has a few of her own tricks up the sleeves of that beautiful coat. Won the Annecy International Animated Film Festival award for best TV series episode in 1991.
La Reine cruelle et le montreur de fabulo
In the year 3000 lives a pitiless queen who seeks out and kills all her would-be suitors with the powers of her mega-radar and disintegrator ray. That is, until the trainer of a strange whistling creature takes up the challenge of evading the radar. Could it be that queen is not really cruel, and that her anger only stems from her loneliness?An original story by Michel Ocelot.
Prince et princesse
Within the sumptuous elegance of a French rococo garden, a young prince and princess, after some cajoling from the prince, swear their love for each other with a kiss – a kiss which turns out to have some side-effects which are more than just a little unexpected.An original story by Michel Ocelot. Won the Ottawa International Animation Festival award for best TV series episode in 1990.

Lost episodes

Two episodes of Ciné si remain which were not compiled into Princes et princesses.
Icare
A retelling of the familiar mythological story of Icarus and Daedalus. It was included, with English subtitles on the French DVD release Les Trésors cachés de Michel Ocelot.

On ne saurait penser à tout
The title translates as "One Could Not Think of All".

Production

The series was produced across two years starting in 1987, with animation done at La Fabrique in Saint-Laurent-le-Miniermarker during the summer and post-production done in Parismarker during the intervening winters. Its premièred at animation festivals in 1989, receiving critical acclaim and awards for best anthology series at Annecy and best children's series at Ottawa but no commission to create further episodes.

Themes

Ciné si takes the format of an anthology series of fairy tales in which the male and female leads are always portrayed by the same animated "actors," the supporting cast being supposedly played by humanoid robots programmed by them. Each story is preceded by a prologue set in a disused movie theater, in which these actor-animators and an old man who is both the projectionist and theater organist think up the story, costumes and music for the play which they then perform. These short plays stretch the definition of fairy tales, some being set in specified countries, most having post-modern, trick endings and one set not at an unspecified point in past but, instead, in the future, with a retro-futurist aesthetic in the style of Yakov Protazanov's Aelita. All have an obvious – though never explicitly stated – moral, in the style of traditional stories.

Ocelot had many more ideas for stories in this format but the series was not as successful as he had expected and no further episodes than the initial eight were commissioned. A few years later, three of these stories were made into the TV special Les Contes de la nuit (Tales of the Night); in 2008 he returned to direct another ten of them as another television series, Bergères et dragons (Shepherdesses and Dragons), this time using computer animation to imitate the silhouette animation of Ciné si and Les Contes de la nuit.

Release

Produced in 1999 by Les Armateurs and released to French cinemas on 26 January 2000, Princes et princesses became Ocelot's second feature film (following 1998's Kirikou and the Sorceress). The feature version comprises slightly edited versions of 6 of the 8 12-minute episodes, with the addition of a 1-minute intermission at the half-way point. In Japanmarker, it was distributed on DVD-Video with the co-operation of Studio Ghibli, initially in the Ghibli Cinema Library and re-released under the Ghibli Museum Library label. The film won both the adult and children's jury awards at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival.

Home media

As of March 2008, there are no known plans to release Princes et princesses in the United Kingdommarker or Australia. It has been released in Canadamarker, however, where it is only available as the second disc of a Kirikou and the Sorceress two-DVD set. Both discs have English subtitles, though only for the main feature on each. Also, there is no DVD which uses the full, original, 1.5:1 aspect ratio – they are optimised for either 4:3 or 16:9 screens, and using the wrong version with the wrong television will result in windowboxing.
Country Title Format Region code Publisher Date Catalogue # Aspect ratio Subtitles
South Koreamarker 프린스 앤 프린세스 NTSC All Daum Media 2003.05.30 DAD-158 1.37:1 fullscreen English, Korean
Canadamarker Kirikou et la sorcière NTSC 1 Alliance Atlantismarker 2004.12.21 1.56:1 anamorphic widescreen English, French
United Statesmarker Princes and Princesses NTSC 1 Kino International 2008.7.29 1.37:1 fullscreen[494742] English
France Princes et princesses PAL 2 France Télévisionsmarker 2004.07.28 EDV 174 1.56:1 anamorphic widescreen English, French
Japan プリンス&プリンセス NTSC 2 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment 2007.07.18 VWDZ8716 1.56:1 anamorphic widescreen English, French, Japanese
Taiwanmarker 王子與公主 NTSC 3 Power International Multimedia 2005.09.30 1.37:1 fullscreen English, French, Traditional Chinese

Notes

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