My Life As A Courgette

Simultaneously released as My Life As A Zucchini in the US, this wonderful stop-motion animated film by Swiss director Claude Barras is based on Gilles Paris’s autobiographic novel Autobiographie d’une Courgette, the adapatation coming courtesy of French writer-director Céline Sciamma, among others. Sciamma has proven to be a very sympathetic chronicler of childhood travails, and continues her excellent writing run here, bringing to life a number of troubled young characters within a short space of time – in fact the film is just over an hour long. These kids live within an orphanage and include within their number newly-arrived ‘Courgette’, whose parents have passed away; we also meet Simon, whose cruel aunt wants to take him out of the orphanage, and another newcomer, Camille. The film feels like an antidote to all the bright, fast, busy and colourful animated movies that seem to do so well at the box office these days, treating both its younger and older viewers with respect, and slowing the pace down to properly get to grips with the characters and their differing situations. It’s heart-warming, moving and subtle, and includes a disco scene that is just brilliant. (****)