This French-Swiss stop-motion animation movie has been winning over jury’s and cinema going audiences around the world, did it win mine?
My Life As A Courgette is, you may be disappointed to hear, not actually about a courgette at all. It’s about a young boy named Icar, whose mother calls him Courgette, for reasons we’re not quite clear on.
Courgette lives at home with his mum, his father having ran off with ‘chicks’ – which Courgette wonderfully thinks means baby-birds. His mother is angry and bitter and is drinking heavily and beating Courgette.
One day, there’s an accident and Courgette ends up in a foster home with other, similar children. There he’s told people don’t love children his age anymore, he manages to prove them wrong.
Based on the novel by French writer Gilles Paris, which is a lot darker than the film, writer and director Claude Barras (Chambre 69 (Short), Land of the Heads (Short)) gives us his own version of the book via the medium of stop motion.
You cannot failed to be charmed by this movie. With a running time of just over one hour it zips along at a pleasant pace but gives you just enough story to move you.
The wonderful, albeit brief, back story of the other children provides a reference point and humanises them beautifully.
There’s a child whose mother has been deported, one whose father is in jail, drugs, you name it. These children have formed a bond, with Simon the friendly-bully as their leader.
It takes time for Courgette to settle but he’s helped with the arrival of Camille whom he falls in love with. This also provides a nice little sub-plot of the gang keeping Camille away from her evil aunt.
The police officer who originally deals with Courgette, keeps in touch with the charming-young boy and is prime candidate to take things further.
During the credits of My Life As A Courgette you are treated to the young boys original audition for the role, which has now been animated.
It’s brilliant and charming and yet, it makes you realise that, whilst the US dubbed version isn’t bad necessarily, it’s missing all the charm of the original cast. If you can, I recommend watching it in its original format.
In fact, whilst the film is wonderful, I’d recommend reading the book on which it is based which gives a much harder, colder take on what it’s like as an orphan.
My Life As A Courgette is a beautifully presented, charming little film that you should absolutely see.