Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s most recognized work is a timeless tale and to learn about the man and meaning of this tale is nicely explored in the documentary simply titled Invisible Essence: The Little Prince. This work can be found to view online, but for me, I had to see it during the 2019 Victoria Film Festival, to enjoy seeing the artwork come to life on the big screen. With the dream-like watercolour images splashed on that canvas and ink dots denoting a lost innocence, I was captivated by the details of not only the illustrations but also in how this author would come to write this seminal tale.
Not only does this film explores new reactions to this story but also it gets anecdotal by those who knew this creator’s life. The balancing of these two narratives made for a lengthy examination and the payoff, in the end, is simply in understanding both the author and his story more.
I have seen a few cross-media interpretations of this work, and while the most memorable is Mark Osborne‘s animated version in 2015, which combines CGI with stop-motion, I seem to recall there was an older version made in the 70s. An anime exists and I was surprised this documentary makes no mention of this Japanese work. The ballet is explored in-depth and what I learned has me interested in wanting to see it on stage. To bring this tale to a different world requires effort, especially in breathing life to the snake.
After watching Invisible Essence: The Little Prince., I’m ready to reread the book and rewatch Osborne’s film again with the new knowledge I gained. As a result, I feel I’ll be enjoying this tale a whole lot more.
4 Stars out of 5