The Dog, the General and the Birds

Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children's book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Shortish feature for all ages should travel with little difficulty.

With:
Narrator: Philippe Noiret.

A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly pleasing on the visual front, shortish feature for all ages should travel with little difficulty. Toon preemed as a special showing at last fall’s Venice Film Festival and has been playing in Paris since late October.

In 1812, the general drove Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops out of Russia with an ingenious but cruel ruse. As the French approached Moscow — where they planned to restock desperately needed food and supplies — the general set fire to birds and sent them flying. The birds, in turn, set Moscow ablaze, forcing Napoleon to make a U-turn.

By 1836, the general has retired in St. Petersburg, but subsequent generations of pigeons and other birds have never forgotten how he treated so many of their ancestors. They editorialize by pooping on the general whenever he leaves his apartment.

Reliving the terrible battle in nightmares every night, the general carries an umbrella by day to protect himself from the city’s vindictive birds. Until, that is, he meets a dog whose master has died. The dog barks at the birds, which keep their distance. But the elderly general doesn’t think he has the energy to take care of a dog.

In a beautifully animated sleigh trip to the countryside, the general finds a home for the dog away from the city. But the general and dog (named Bonaparte, in honor of his old foe) are eventually reunited for a heroic mission to free all the captive birds in St. Petersburg. Down-to-the-wire finale is thrilling.

Lyrical animation has a hand-drawn quality and Chagall-like creative perspective that are at one with the elegant pacing and slightly melancholy score by Guerra’s son Andrea. Evocative backgrounds are inspired by the illustrations of scenic designer and graphic artist Serguei Barkhin.

The Dog, the General and the Birds

France-Italy

Production: A Bac Films release (in France) of a Solaris, Roissy Films, Prima, Teva, Gam Films production with participation of Canal Plus and RAI Cinema. (International sales: Roissy Film, Paris.) Produced by Stephane Tchal Gadjieff, Raphael Berdugo. Directed by Francis Nielsen. Screenplay, Tonino Guerra, based on his illustrated children's book "The General and Bonaparte."

Crew: Artistic adviser, Andrei Krajanovski; music, Andrea Guerra; assistant director, Willem Sperstra. Reviewed at Quartier Latin, Paris, Jan. 4, 2004. (In Venice Film Festival 2003 -- special screening.) Running time: 75 MIN. (French dialogue version)

With: Narrator: Philippe Noiret.

More Film

  • Virtual Reality Conference Promises to Ignite

    Virtual Reality Conference Promises to Ignite Singapore Media Festival

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • SGIFF: Anup Singh Readies Third Film

    Singapore: ‘Scorpions’ Director Readies Third Film With Irrfan Khan (EXCLUSIVE) 

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • Canal Plus

    Canal Plus Orders Thomas Lilti's 'Hippocrate' Medical Series

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • 'Call Me by Your Name' Costumes,

    Luca Guadagnino Relied on a Pair of Longtime Friends for 'Call Me by Your Name' Decor, Costumes

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • A Profile of Argentine Fantasy Genre

    Mar del Plata: Argentina on the Rise -- Demián Rugna

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • Coco Trailer

    'Coco' Stuffing 'Justice League' at Thanksgiving Box Office

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

  • Saoirse Ronan Greta Gerwig Playback Podcast

    Playback: Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan on 'Lady Bird' and Coming of Age

    A retired Russian general makes amends with pragmatic and poetic results in “The Dog, the General and the Birds.” Exquisitely bittersweet and charmingly rendered tale, adapted by vet scripter Tonino Guerra from his own children’s book, functions beautifully as animated entertainment and a narrative undertaking with a timelessly pertinent message. Low on dialogue and highly […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content