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Kirikou And The Sorceress (1998, French)

Director: Michel Ocelot (74 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (96%), IMDB (7.5), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: anime, joyful.

Summary: Lovely, award-winning movie which is listed in BFI list of 50 films to see by the age of 14.

An infant named Kirikou fights Karaba the Sorceress who eats anybody who stands up to her. He is creative, fearless and adventurous. He is also compassionate.

Very early in the movie, Kirikou is keen to know why Karaba is mean and evil! Villagers around him actually don't know! So he undertakes a journey to meet a wise man, his own grandfather, who lives on the other side of the mountain. From the wise man, he learns that the sorceress is actually in pain, which is why she's mean and evil to everybody. Why and what will relieve her? Kirikou asks for a talisman. The wise man tells him that talismans are useless against the sorceress - the child must use his innocence and his intelligence, which are more powerful than any magic in this world! :)

The above dialogues reminded me of Heng Sure's 800-mile "three steps and a bow" journey in 1977. When he ordained as a monk, he decided to walk from Los Angeles to Ukiah in silence, by taking three steps at a time, then bow to the ground. His master told him, 'You will need a companion and a protector.' A few months later, Heng Ch'au emerged. He was skilled in martial arts. Just before the duo embarked on their journey, the master instructed them, "No dazzling martial arts moves or surefire weapons. Walking into a world troubled by rage, violence and turmoil, your protection shall be the Four Hearts: Kindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity. If you use these, you shall find them inexhaustible." Their journey took them 2 years and 6 months. They went through rough neighborhoods, hoodlums and unkind people but they were unharmed, without using any martial arts skills.

The first scene in Kirikou and the Sorceress is impressive: an infant named Kirikou talks through the womb, brings himself to life earlier than his due date, cuts off the umbilical cord and jumps into a bowl of water to cleanse himself. He playfully asks where is father is. His mom replies, "he went to fight Karaba the Sorceress who ate him." What about his father's brothers? "They went to fight Karaba the Sorceress who ate them." What about his mother's brothers? "They went to fight Karaba the Sorceress, who ate them." Except one.. who is presently on his way to fight the sorceress. Kirikou whizzes through to meet him and face the sorceress!

The movie is different from regular movies for kids in that neither men nor women never wear any tops, as was the norm in pre-colonial Africa. Kirikou himself doesn't wear anything throughout the movie. He's an infant.

 

1 Jan 2013
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