My Life as a Zucchini (2016)

26 Apr

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In order to appreciate what My Life as a Zucchini is, it’s important to understand what it isn’t. Namely, this sophisticated wee stop motion is many things, but a kids movie it is not.

Based on Gilles Paris’ young adult novel Autobiographie d’une Courgette, the film opens with Zucchini, a little boy lost who finds himself in a home for children after accidentally killing his abusive mother. The filmscape filled with other unwanteds and unloveds led by resident tough kid Simon, the orphans form a ragtag bunch who have seen what no child should see, and who will never fully recover from their ordeal. Again the film can be defined by what it is not, and it is not another film about a horrible boarding house. On the contrary, the home for children is a loving and stable one, making it clear that the palpable pain stems from long term internal wounds.

Through little Zucchini’s burgeoning friendship with the police officer, Raymond, who brought him in we see that there is some light at the end of the tunnel, a hope for something new rather than recovering what has been lost.

Director Claude Barras does a masterful job of keeping My Life as a Zucchini balanced on a wire, never too bleak, nor saccharine, he finds the perfect sweet spot and remains there throughout. A beautiful film, well worthy of the praise that has been heaped on it.

 

Ed.

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