Another whimsical, deceptively simple exercise from Intl. Animated Film Society prez Michel Ocelot, “Princes and Princesses” might not attain the worldwide penetration of the French animator’s 1998 hit, “Kirikou and the Sorceress,” but still has the ability to charm at fests, in specialty situations and on the tube and homevid.
Utilizing an evocative style of black silhouetted figures against vibrant washes of color, Ocelot puts forth the setup of a teacher urging an inquisitive boy and girl to use their imaginations and magical machines to act out series of short tales. The stories involve various permutations of the plucky, problem-solving title royalty. Each begins in a proscenium frame and affords Ocelot the chance to illustrate a different period, including an unspecified Romanesque wood, ancient Egypt, 19th-century Japan, the year 3000 and a Grimm-era tale in which kisses turn the duo various animals (pic’s funniest sequence). There’s even a minute-long break built in at the half-hour mark, presumably for discussion. Tech credits are straightforward for the form, although the sparse visual style may keep pic from traveling beyond animation aficionados and kiddie auds fluent in the film’s simple French.