The Painting (2011) Poster


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One of the most original animated concepts EVER!
ClaytonDavis5 January 2013
For the past two years, animated films have seemed to take a dive in both quality and execution. The narrative structure taken in some of the films like Pixar's Brave and Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians sound good on paper but when formally implemented onto the screen, many are left wanting more. In Jean-François Laguionie's Le Tableau or how many will come to know it as, The Painting, animation is back in the forefront with an imaginative and incredibly accomplished tale of wonder, love, and revelation.

The Painting tells the story of a world unlike any other, a painting on a wall in a painter's home. There are three types of figures living inside the painting: "Alldunns" are figures that have been completely drawn with color and precision, that live in a castle and have declared themselves superior beings in the wake of the painter's absence. "Halfies" are figures that were left incomplete in color who have been barred from entering the castle. And living in the outer woods near the border of the frame are the "Sketchies", rough outlines of beings that are hunted by the Alldunns for mere sport.

The film is told from our lovely Lola's perspective, a Halfie whose best friend Claire, also a Halfie, who has fallen in love with an Alldunn, Ramo. When their love is discovered and tragedy strikes, Roma, Lola, and a Sketchie named Quill are driven to the perimeter of the painting where they believe their creator lies. When they leave the painting, their wonder and imagination doesn't live up to the reality that is in store.

As the film evolves moment-to-moment, and presents breathtaking animation, I couldn't help be in complete awe of what I was witnessing. Not only does the film breathe new life into a genre in desperate need of oxygen, it sets the bar high for all genres, both for children and adults, to challenge themselves with each new frame they present. It's pure magic on-screen.

Le Tableau feels like Toy Story if it had been directed by Terrence Malick in an Italian opera that was written by William Shakespeare. It's so profound and moving that your heart fills to the brim with adoration and marvel. Jean-François Laguionie and co-writer Anik Leray treat the viewers with respect, never being fearful to ask the tough questions and not play us as if we're all adolescents. The Painting challenges the inner-child in all of us to grow up. The depiction of Venice alone with orange, yellows and the brightest colors you can think of is one of the finest creations of the year.

The Painting is transcendental and unlike anything I've seen this year. It's not only the Best Animated films of the year but it's one of the best pictures of the year. Period. GKIDS continues to prove how they will become the quality-equal to Pixar Studios as they continue to push the boundaries and trust their innovation as filmmakers. Oscar should not think of voting on any category without seeing The Painting first. A true knock out!

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Amazing artwork.
pat_2213 July 2013
Fantastic visuals, simply riveting with a perfectly executed structure. However, in my opinion it never reached it's full potential because it was held back. The film possessed a wonderful world without really exploring and explaining it in full detail, perhaps the director was not daring enough to go above and beyond in terms of the story line. Once the story was introduced, it struggled to maintain it's structural appeal. Though it contained a sensationally unique and stylistic appeal captivating the general audience. Despite the simple story it is a work bursting with imagination whether it be in art direction or its dazzling picture-hopping set piece.
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A beautiful picture
westside-surfer13 August 2014
It's a been a while since a film has filled me with wonder. The idea and visual effects created a world that makes you wish you could crawl through your TV. Every aspect of this movie soars: dialogue, character, story, visual, tone, etc. By comparison, the American animated movies seem too safe and predictable.

The visual team did an excellent job of creating a painted world in terms of how it looked and functioned. Some very clever thinking went into deciding what's possible within a canvas. The plot was straight forward, the painted characters fear they have been abandoned, but has enough substance for serious introspection.

The Painting is an excellent film for children and adults. It tackles some more serious themes than most American cartoons: racism, death, and philosophical questions about our purpose and creation. I'll be looking forward to seeing more films by the highly imaginative director Jean- Francois Laguionie.
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Keep watching....
MartinHafer16 June 2014
The Painting is not a film for everyone. Despite being an animated film, this French film is definitely not designed for kids. And, it's also not for everyone else—just folks who can admire its artistry and style. As I sat and watched this one with my daughter, she clearly became bored with the film—though she admitted that the film was visually stunning. As for me, I could agree that the film has slow moments, but it's one you need to keep watching, as it becomes more and more spectacular as you watch.

The film begins within a painting where all the characters in the painting are alive and there is its own little world. It's also a highly prejudiced world and there is a clear caste system. At the top are the Alldunns—characters who are completely painting by the artist. They feel superior and look down on the others. Next come the Halfies— those who are painted but who have not had all their colors applied. And, at the bottom, come the Sketchies—primitive sketches and nothing more. Within this world is a problem, as an Alldunn has fallen in love with a Halfie—and his fellow Alldunns are NOT pleased! So what are the young lovers to do? Yep…they're going in search of the artist himself to get him to finish the painting and make everyone equal! Along the way, the girl gets lost but her boyfriend continues the trip—along with a very brave Halfie girl and a poor Sketchie. While this all sounds very weird, it does get weirder. Eventually, the trio manage to get to the edge of the painting and then…they pass through it to the outside world. They find themselves in the artist's studio. He isn't there…but many of his paintings are. Amazingly, they find that they can enter these paintings as well—and soon they make friends with a young soldier named Magenta. What's next? See the film—it is rather amazing.

The first 15 or so minutes of the film is stuck on the original painting. It is a rather garish land—much like a Gaugin painting. Most of the characters weren't very interesting, the colors are garish and I wish that less time had been spent here. However, I urge you to sit tight and keep watching! The other paintings often have a different look (such as Modigliani and Cocteau)—as if they were done by an artist trying various styles. Some of these are quite arresting—as it is seeing the characters from the paintings walking in both a CG world (the studio) as well as into the real world itself at the very end! Additionally, because the film is made by using computer graphics, they are able to achieve a wonderful 3D look that is completely unique. Sure, some of Aleksandr Petrov's shorts are prettier when it comes to the paintings (especially since Petrov does it without computers), but he couldn't achieve exactly the same sort of look and style—nor could he bring the real world into the computer graphics world.

So did I adore the film? No. I agree with my oldest daughter that the film does have some slow moments and forgettable characters. It also might improve if it was a bit shorter and tighter. But, I still recommend you see it because it is so unique and clever. It's a film for anyone wanting something different or who has a love of both animation and art films.
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Beautiful, and sweet, and a bit dull as a story, sad to say!
secondtake2 May 2014
The Painting (2011)

If you like animated films in general, and like inventive ones in particular, see this. I think it's good on many levels—the story, the style, the feeling. Even the sentimental ending.

But my taste for animation varies wildly. I loved "Monsters, Inc." and hated "Pocahontas." Anime leaves me cold. It isn't enough to dazzle me with animation tricks, nor to play with children's stories in inventive ways on screen.

So this story works with lots of familiar (too familiar) tropes—types of friends, heroes, problems that we know well. The animation (French) is different than both Pixar and Disney styles we know well, and also different than, say Wallace and Gromit (which wasn't American). But it isn't self-sustaining. I mean, it's a little constrained and polite, even when it is taking visual chances. It's all very "nice" all the time, and that goes with the friendly quality of the movie, too.

I sound like a curmudgeon. Not so (I think)! But I tried and tried to get absorbed and just got, well, bored. Sad to say. Judge for yourself. I will say that I think you need to give it a half an hour or so to get into some of the range of the film. But then, if it hasn't hooked you, it probably won't.
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Another fine recent animation effort from France.
suite927 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The Painting is about a painting in a painter's home. The painting is incomplete in several ways. The painting has a château, a flowering garden, and a dangerous forest, plus a multitude of characters.

The characters are divided into (Toupins, Pafinis, Reufs) or (Alldunns, Halfies, Sketchies) in English. In the conceit of the film, the Toupins (completed, fully painted characters) decide they should rule the proceedings, treating the Pafinis (part finished) badly, and enslaving the Reufs (rough sketches).

The protagonist is Lola a Halfie. Her Halfie friend Claire has fallen in love with a completed character, Ramo. Ramo tries to speak against the bad behaviour of the Alldunns in the château, but is shouted down. Claire is imprisoned. Lola, Ramo, and a Sketchie named Quill escape the painted through a perimeter weakness in the forest.

Once outside, the painting style shifts to a mixed one. Our heroes keep their form and colours, but the outside is rendered in strongly realistic terms. This is executed quite well.

The trio interact with characters in the painter's other paintings. Eventually they find that they can paint themselves. They speak with the painter's self-portrait, and gather up paint and brushes to take back the the painting of origin.

Their return increases the chaos for a while, but levels out the inequalities.

The ending where Lola again departs the painting and speaks with the painter is just delightful. There is another shift of mixing styles which is also well done.


Art/Animation: 10/10 Breath-taking.

Sound: 10/10 No problems.

Screenplay: 10/10 Loved the imaginative story with interesting infrastructure, and beautiful ending.
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beautiful in profound sense
Vincentiu22 November 2014
a beautiful film. not complex script. not extraordinary story. but the memory of colors, the lovely simplicity, the freshness warm flavor of childhood, the emotions who are mixture of old images, adventure spirit, religious lesson and philosophical crumbs is like a kind of music. the result - an useful meeting. seductive, refreshing, delicate, a not ordinary animation who represents more than entertainment, a window to a splendid universe. the sense of well known world, the game of colors, the animation as a kind of delicate invitation to self discover are virtues of a film with not high ambitions but for this reason admirable way to remember the basic fundamental things.
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wangdichaoyang3 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Imaginative Inspiring Adventurous Iridescent Surprising Dreamlike

This story is already good enough on the first phase, but the creators took it up to many levels beyond that. It is so imaginative that you can't believe it. It's so extraordinary that you will be overwhelmed.

It's a bit like when I was watching the Japanese movie Spirited Away. These are really rare great stuff.

Also, it's about equality. It even makes you want to make some art pieces with paint right away. You never know what to expect. You will always be shocked and it put a smile on your face.

Watch it!!! You will be kicking yourself if you miss it.
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Four sketches in search of a . . .
tadpole-596-9182569 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
. . . painter has been done previously, with Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello's SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR. "French" has always stood out as an imitative culture. The language is so much like English that French politicians pass laws as to how many "English" words can migrate onto French screens annually (just as Americans try to limit the influx of "guest workers"). "French cuisine" is virtually interchangeable with Italian cooking, and most French composers simply copy what the German, English, and Italians have done a few decades earlier. France has lost all its important wars because its armies are always equipped with the weapons of yesteryear. When a French person such as Madame Curie actually stumbles upon something new, such as radiation, they can't comprehend it. All Curie's original notes are too radioactive to be handled even today, and hundreds of Frenchwomen including Curie family members died from licking the little paint brushes they used to make the numbers on watches glow in the dark. (While the French were decorating time pieces, America beat Germany to using radioactivity to power and dominate the world!) This cartoon, THE PAINTING, is delightful enough to merit a rating of 8 (from 10). However, this film--which grossed slightly more than $11,000 in America--also is derivative and French (which is pretty much saying the same thing).
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admirable work
Kirpianuscus26 May 2016
good animation. or religious film. original characters. and seductive lesson about art. it has different sides. but it remains a beautiful show. not only for the wonderful art, for the wise mixture of love, tension, mystery and crumbs of history, for references to literature and history, for the final meeting or for the status of parable. but for its admirable manner to translate emotions and realities and desires. for the game of events and for the need of certitude of characters. for idealism. and for the grace of details. a film who remains different. for the science to explore old things in the inspired light. nothing more. only a story, a trip and a revelation. few characters. and the questions. short, one of stories who remains seductive for the art to reuse old problems in the right style.
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Deep and meaningful.
a-sign-biz4 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie will feed the imagination and nourish the soul. It is powerful, poignant & deep, your imagination will enjoy it.

The French use less words in comparison to English. Oddly some depth and compelling significance gets lost when translated from French to English. The French have an amazing way of expressing themselves, always have. From their artist to their philosophers they have always been able to say and express deep and meaningful compassion with fewer words.

A fascinating plus about this story is, it can be watched with no sound at all. Your imagination gets the message through and is profound to the minds eye. The art is raw and honest. Beautiful film.
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Painted With Heart and Soul
rsj62412 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
--WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the film, so just a heads up. In order to accurately review this film, it may be necessary to talk about some key moments.--

As most films of it's nature go, The Painting's immortality will lie in it's infinite lore, but most likely remain obscure to the masses for quite some time. Movies like this one never fade away forever, and someday it's genuine charm will be rediscovered and heralded as a masterpiece, but for now, it is a modest piece about social classes and the desire to be accepted into the world you are a part of.

In the Painting, three types of individuals exist. The Toupins, who are completed works, the Pafinis, which have spots here and there that remain unfinished, and Reufs, which remain in sketch form and barely brushed out beyond mere outlines. The film is a portrayal of social standards and class warfare in it's most predictable and overdone manner, but most interesting is it's abandonment of it's confined world and use of other paintings to provide a bigger canvas, and help it's vision of a larger universe to convey it's message of relativity.

It's preachy no doubt, but these frequent forays into other paintings not only give the film a much needed whimsical quality, but also a break from the heavy handed nature of it's narrative. There is no denying how beautiful of a film it is, and it goes without saying I'm sure, but thankfully the substance behind all the events taking place gives enough to chew on and the films premise, although short, is rewarding, albeit predictable by the end.

If anything, the character's could've been a little deeper, but this seems nit-picky for such an enjoyable film. Recommended for anyone who appreciates artistic ingenuity in film and a quality animated adventure.
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