Nicolas, a hymn to the lightness of childhood according to Goscinny and Sempé

Nicolas, a hymn to the lightness of childhood according to Goscinny and Sempé

Nicolas or of every childhood. Unbridled and curious, tender and ferocious, joyful and stubborn. Nicolas or of every dream, still intact. Nicolas or every memory to cherish.

Little Nicolasborn from the pen of Rene Goscinny (father of Asterix and Obelix and pen of Lucky Luke) and from the pencil of Jean-Jacques Sempé, a much loved character in France (and not only), is this and now that he returns to the cinema in an animated version he manages to drag us into everything we talk about when we talk about childhood. Irresistibly. Delightful cartoon, which intertwines the lives of the authors with the stories of little Nicolas, signed by Amandine Fredon And Benjamin Massoubre, from February 15th it will be in Italian cinemas, after being presented at the last Cannes Film Festival.

Title “The adventures of little Nicola” (Le petit Nicolas) and a universe waiting to be discovered or, better yet, rediscovered. Because Nicolas’ childhood speaks of our childhoods, in the face of different times, changing family cultures, different pedagogical habits.

The Sempé and Goscinny archive

«The initial idea was that of a documentary that combined archive footage of Jean-Jacques Sempé and René Goscinny with animated stories of little Nicolas. Then the project evolved and we realized we wanted to make an entirely animated film. It seemed more consistent with the authors’ universe and allowed us to bring little Nicolas’ first animated film to life”, explains Amandine Fredon who together with Massoubre worked on the project during the pandemic. The result? A hymn to the lightness of daily happiness, that made by small and essential things.

«The context probably influenced us, so we wanted to make a cheerful film. We wanted to show that, before becoming famous, these artists had many difficulties in entering the market, in making themselves known, but nevertheless they did not give up, their success is the fruit of a life dedicated to work, they chose to remain optimistic despite the challenges. The world of little Nicolas and the humor they brought to life represent a positive reaction to the traumas he has suffered. And the film wants to send this positive message”, she comments.

Two worlds Le petit Nicolas

And then off into an inventive vortex to adapt their style to that of Sempé’s animation and vice versa. After all, «adapting a work means creating many new elements and relying on different animation processes, while remaining faithful to the original, and here we had to invent the colors ourselves, create the authors’ characters and look for the places and historical periods in which they lived, the Argentina of the 1920s or the occupied Paris of the 1940s. The film also deals with our collective history. We didn’t want to remain imprisoned in Goscinny’s office or Sempé’s studio.”

More: «In Le petit Nicolas there are two very distinct worlds, that of the authors and that of little Nicolas. For the latter, we remained as faithful as possible to the original illustrations of the books, both in drawing the lines and in the lack of details that characterizes the backgrounds. As a result, there were two artistic directions: one based on the illustrations of little Nicolas and one based on Sempé’s illustrations for other books or the New Yorker, more colorful and more detailed. But it is practically impossible to reproduce his style, because he never drew little Nicolas in the same way, while for animation you have to always have an identical and recognizable character.” Mission accomplished, the viewer, after leafing through the images like pages of a book, will take with him a Nicolas that he will not forget.


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