for Cinetalk.net

Remade as The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Irene & Wladyslaw Starewicz’s 1930 animated feature Le Roman de Renard  (The Story of the Fox) is a striking piece of cinematic achievement.

Master Fox fools everyone in the Animal Kingdom. So the Lion King and his subject are trying to stop the cunning beast…

This French produced film by the Russian-Polish-Lithuanian couple (Wladyslaw Starewicz also took care of cinematography and Art direction), using stop-motion technique, was actually shot in 1930-31. Due to financial difficulties, a first version, with German dialogues, was completed with sound only in 1937, followed by a French version. This made it, a few months prior to Disney’s Snow White, the first Animated talking feature.

As for Wes Anderson’s Mr. Fox , the characters are originating from medieval writings regrouped under the title Le Roman de Renart (thus the origin of the word “Renard”, the name of the main character, replacing Goupil in the French language to designate a Fox).

Roman_de_renard_screen4.jpg

The surprisingly fast paced rhythm (especially for the time), the black humor, the amazing creativity and the talent of the directors in numerous department makes it an amazing film to discover. The artistry is quite impressive with detailed puppets and settings as well as great use of back projection and various editing tricks and clever dialogues.

Le Roman de Renard is an enchanting movie. It clearly doesn’t get its due in Film History.

Yours to discover.

*** (As for now you can find versions with English subs on Youtube…)

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