Ernest and Célestine are back at the cinema in “Le voyage en Charabie”

Ten years after their first feature film, Ernest and Célestine are making their return to the big screen. In “Le voyage en Charabie”, the two friends will try to bring music and joy back to Ernest’s country of origin. A very beautiful film to discover with the family.

Misfortune! The little mouse Célestine has dropped Ernest’s violin on the stairs. The only solution to repair the precious broken instrument: go to Charabie, his friend bear’s country of origin, to have it repaired.

Once there, the two friends discover with horror that music has been banned from the whole country for several years. Accompanied by a mysterious masked vigilante, Ernest and Célestine will struggle to have this ban lifted and bring joy and music back to the city of bears.

A sequel to the first feature film

“Ernest and Célestine: Le voyage en Charabie” is the sequel to the 2012 film directed by Benjamin Renner and Vincent Patar, which was inspired by the illustrated children’s books by Belgian writer and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent, published between 1981 and 2000 .

Faced with the success of the books and this first feature film, both of which won numerous awards (including the César for best animated film and an Oscar nomination in the same category in 2013), the universe of the bear and mouse was then declined in series for television in 2017. 26 episodes on which worked Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger who co-directed the second film.

>> To see: the trailer of the film

Comedy as a gateway

Always drawn “by hand” – which is becoming rare in the world of animation – “Le voyage en Charabie” deals with deep and sometimes even sad subjects, such as emigration, oppression, prohibitions or even family conflicts, but never forgetting that the film is primarily intended for a very young audience.

“We believe that children, even the youngest, are able to understand these themes, explains co-director Julien Chheng to RTS. They have all heard at one time or another from their parents sentences such as ‘this is how it is and no other way’ and wondered who sets the rules in the world. And that’s what we talk to them about.”

To convey this message to young audiences, the two directors have chosen comedy as their gateway. “We needed this comic aspect, especially at the beginning of the film to introduce this absurd world that is Charabie, explains Julien Chheng. We wanted to relax the atmosphere so that young spectators can first of all have fun discovering this country. , before discovering that there is a lot of drama and more serious things behind it.”

>> To listen: the interview with Julien Chheng, one of the directors of the film

The guest: Julien Chheng, “Ernest and Célestine. Le Voyage en Charabie” / Vertigo / 27 min. / December 12, 2022

Take time

The music has a very important place in the film. It all starts with a broken violin that needs to be repaired, which leads the two friends to go to Charabie where, apart from a piano that only plays one C, all music is forbidden. “The music has a great narrative force in the film. It is also the symbol of something bigger, more political. It is the key to the story”, summarizes Julien Chheng.

As for the editing, “Le voyage en Charabie” offers a slower pace than what we can currently see in productions intended for young people. “We wanted to stand out from the feature films for children with very big budgets which sometimes take place at an almost epileptic pace. Especially since the themes addressed in our film are not necessarily easy to grasp for a young child. We therefore had to take time”, analyzes the co-director.

“Ernest and Celestine” is designed as an anti-Hollywood film”

Julien Chheng, co-director of the film

A movie for the whole family

With its funny and poetic moments, “Le voyage en Charabie” is certainly aimed at the youngest, but does not forget adults. Whether through winks in the form of tributes to other films (one thinks of “King and the Bird” by Grimault or “Chat noir, chat blanc” by Kusturica) or through scenes like the one where a bear tries to smuggle sheet music and musical notes on a street corner like a drug dealer, which will undoubtedly make the biggest laugh.

“Ernest and Célestine: le voyage en Charabie” therefore offers several levels of reading, which makes it a perfect proposal for a family cinema outing at the end of the year.

Interview by Pierre Philippe Cadert

Web adaptation: Andréanne Quartier-la-Tente

“Ernest and Célestine: the trip to Charabie”, by Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger, to be seen currently in French-speaking cinemas.

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Ernest and Célestine are back at the cinema in “Le voyage en Charabie”