A movie theater complete with the ability to recreate fairytales forms the gimmick of Tales of the Night. What happens onstage is both charming and artistic, especially in the method that the whole movie is portrayed.
A movie theater is equipped with high tech equipment that allows a boy, girl, and older gentleman to stage any tale they want to.
Over the course of an evening they put on:
Night of the Werewolf: An imprisoned prince was inspired by gifts from a princess, when he reveals his secret to his new bride he discovers that maybe it was her sister who really loves him.
Jon Jon and the Beauty not Knowing: A clever boy ventures into the underworld and has to pass the tests of the king with the final prize being his daughter’s hand in marriage.
The Chosen One of the Golden City: A young boy visits a foreign golden city only to discover that they sacrifice their most fetching girl to a dragon to keep it that way.
Tom Tom Boy: a native boy is annoying his village with his constant drumming, but an old man tells him of a magic drum that might save his people.
The Boy who Never Lied: A king has a magnificent talking stallion that is cared for by a boy who can’t lie, when a rival king bets half his kingdom that he can make the boy lie.
The Young Doe and the Architects Jon: An evil wizard kidnaps his charge to force her into marriage, but what he doesn’t count on is the architect’s son who is in love with her.
I’m not too familiar with Michel Ocelot but this charming film makes me want to be more familiar with him. It appears the majority of the film is made up of short tales from a French television program with the final episode being one made for the film.
The framing device of the movie theater is a flimsy one, but the tales have such charm that you can forgive it. Do yourself a favor and skip the English dub. I started watching it and thought the tales sillier than they really are. Turning on the original French along with the subtitles greatly increases the likeability of the tales. They’re also told using silhouette animation that adds a classic storytelling feel to them.
Tales of the Night is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features include an 18 minute interview with filmmaker Michel Ocelot, the 12 minute “Festival of Color” feaurette with Ocelot taking place in an UNICEF event, and the 1 minute theatrical trailer. You also get a DVD copy.
Tales of the Night is both whimsical and creative. The tales may veer more art house than Disney kid-friendly fare but those with discerning tastes will find something to savor.
Visit the DVD database for more information.