Tian Xiaopeng’s Deep Sea is More Than A Study on Depression

This latest import from China arrives just in time for the summer season, and Tian Xiaopeng’s Deep Sea does not dissapoint!

Deep Sea Poster Main Theatrical Release
© 2023 October Media. All Rights Reserved.

Screening at Fantasia Film Festival 2023 on Aug 6
Please click here to purchase tickets

Potential Spoiler Alert

Shenxiu (Tingwen Wang) is not a happy young girl in Tian Xiaopeng’s movie, Deep Sea. That’s because she’s not being loved; not only is she neglected by her dad and step-mom, making her feel very depressed, but also the relationship with her biological one is deteriorating. Because the film didn’t translate all those text conversations that blitzed by in the opening act, I’m thankful I understood enough to notice.

But to comprehend everything this motion picture presents requires a few more viewings and an updated subtitle file to play along with this movie. Although I had an electronic press kit to help reveal some other details, I’d rather want to discover these facts on my own.

Thankfully, more screenings after Tribecca and Fantasia Film Fest are planned, and I would love to see this on the big screen as the filmmaker intended. Xiaopeng is best known for Monkey King: The Hero is Back (movie review), and while that tale delivers more in the humour department, I believe his sophomore work is darker.

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On Why Charlie Mackesy’s “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse” Tugs at the Heart

This animated short is adapted from Charlie Mackesy’s storybook of the same name. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse left me wondering how faithful the art is between the two.

Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse
The children’s book that this short is based on is available to purchase on Amazon USA

Available on Apple Plus

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is a very deeply moving story that’s very multilayered. This animated short is adapted from Charlie Mackesy‘s storybook of the same name, and it left me wondering how faithful the art is between the two. I debated purchasing a copy at a bookstore just because I loved the tale. But hot after its Christmas release, both they and even the local libraries couldn’t keep it on the shelf long, and I waited my turn to take it out.

The movie has a quality that feels like a Victorian age children’s novel has come to life. In regards to what this author wanted to share as a message to viewers is very encouraging. There’s more to teaching readers the value of compassion, but also love. And the other life lessons that it imparts will certainly have many thinking. When it’s beautifully complemented with a piano soundtrack, the comtemplative feel good vibes will certainly last!

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TheNFB’s has Zeb’s Spider World Premiere at VIFF! It Won’t String You Along.

Zeb’s Spider is playing this and the following weekend at The Rio Theatre (1660 E Broadway) in Vancouver, BC.

Zeb's SpiderZeb’s Spider isn’t so itsy bitsy, and this woman can give Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world from the animated movie, Luck, a run for her money. They both live in sub-basement apartments, and just have a lot of problems in life to face. This down-and-out individual is deathly afraid of arachnids, and as for what she does to the wall crawler is an entertaining variation of a cat and mouse tale.

This stop-motion animated short produced by the National Film Board of Canada is making its world debut at the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival today, and has two screenings (please see below for details).

But before the eight legged wonder can be called friend, they must work out their issues. This human’s place is often riddled with other pestilence, and without this tiny wonder, her life might even take an even worse fate. What this short by Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis offers is more than a fable. There are some insights to what defines some people, and scares others. Some might say encounters with the unknown can become a wake-up call.

Continue reading “TheNFB’s has Zeb’s Spider World Premiere at VIFF! It Won’t String You Along.”

[Fantasia 2022] The Princesse Dragon Doesn’t Want Money. All She Needs is Love.

Princesse Dragon is a wonderful European fairy tale brought to life by Jean-Jacques Denis, and it’s playing at Fantasia 2022!

Princesse DragonPlaying at Fantasia 2022, July 17 11:45 AM
Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)

Bristle (Kaycie Chase) is the little spitfire. When considering she is the Princesse Dragon, also this film’s title, her personality should be of no surprise to anyone, including her father, named Dragon (Jérémie Covillault). She is a human dragon hybrid and fears she will become like the foes pops hates. Humanity hasn’t been kind to them for a long time, and he has every reason to despise them.

However, he can’t stop this little girl from exploring. She’s a wonderful Studio Ghibli type character and I’d compare her to Mei from My Neighbour Totoro. But unlike that human, her desire to broaden her horizons differs. And the magical adventure that unfolds is one about how differing civilizations can peacefully co-exist.

Soon, while wandering the woods, she meets Princess (Lila Lacombe) from a nearby kingdom. After a romp in the woods, she is taken to the castle and what she sees is that not everyone is evil. Also, this dragon girl learns through observation that not everyone is faring well. If you ask them what their most precious treasures are, I’m sure not everyone will give the same answer. The answer is obvious for some, but if you ask the King and Dragon that, they would lose a round in Jeopardy.

Princesse Dragon

In contrast, the King can’t look beyond his own greed. He even arranged his daughter’s future and the prince we meet is hardly a prince at all. He looks like a puppet willing to be strung along. All he cares for is for the future. When Princess takes the throne, his kingdom will expand to include a neighbouring area and the bounty it offers. Thankfully she is wise to his schemes. Additionally, we also find Dragon’s other two kids are berating him for abandoning Bristle. She hasn’t earned the title Princesse Dragon yet.

Thus, this animated film by Jean-Jacques Denis is all kinds of wonderful. In this work, the children are far wiser than their elders. Also, I can’t help but be reminded of the same literary and visual techniques used by Tomm Moore in Wolfwalkers. In this case, the relationship every species has with itself is deftly examined. The committed humans who are dragon-slayers do not differ from the Dragons who are determined to horde.

Conversely, Princess is nothing like dad. She is sweet and kind while papa is too greedy and determined to do something else. That is, his desire to expand his empire beyond its natural borders will eventually be his undoing. And yes, he loves his gold. The issue we later discover is that he is not willing to share his wealth. Also, when he spots somone else stealing the Dragon’s gold, he’s more than upset. He’s determined to get his reward, and that’s going to be an issue.

The Frogceress is all new character to which I’m sure was created specifically for this movie. Colette Venhard performance of this crone is the highlight and I hope there’s plans to expand her role. A significant part of Princesse Dragon wouldn’t have happened without her interference, and as for what she represents in a greater whole really needs to be examined. Without her, I would not be as invested. I should note that in French, she’s referred to as the Sorcenouille. I’ll have dive deep into studying European folklore to figure out which literary witches influenced this particular design. My best guess is Baba Yaga.

As a result of wanting to see more of her, all I can hope is for Jean-Jacques Denis to consider making more films where she’s at the centre of more disasters! Now wouldn’t that be fun?

5 Stars out of 5

Princesse Dragon Trailer

All That Matters is That Even Mice Belong in Heaven

The lessons learned show that everyone can be equal in their own right rather than to become an alpha.

How to Watch Even Mice Belong in Heaven (2021) Streaming Online – The  StreamableBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on
Amazon Prime Video

Google Play

It’s tough to say if the Czech made Even Mice Belong In Heaven will hit a chord with audiences world-wide, but there’s a simplistic charm to like in this work directed by directors Jan Bubenicek and Denisa Grimmová.

Part of it is due to the artistry put into this stop motion work. The concept design is not too sophisticated, and the presentation recalls the style from those Rankin/Bass classics. It’s also just as comparable to Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I like to think it’s a different take on All Dogs go to Heaven but thematically, the scare about whether a pecking order matters in the world “Of Mice and Men.” That idea is furthered in Zootopia.

This film follows Whizzy (Simona Berman), a mouse who is too brave for her own good. After ripping off a bit of fur from Whitebelly (Graham Halstead), a sleeping fox, she thinks she’s as brave as her pops. But her bravado is short-lived. Whitebelly awakens and chases the rodent to a road with a quickly approaching vehicle coming towards them both.

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