It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
What a tortured path “The King and the Mockingbird” has taken to reach theaters in the United States, and what a treat it is for us to be able to experience it now.
The French animated gem—which massively influenced Hayao Miyazaki in the creation of his legendary Studio Ghibli—originally was conceived in the early 1950s, but became tangled in creative differences over which finished cut was the proper one. While it finally came out in France in 1980, it has been mired ever since in rights issues since, which have prevented its release in the U.S.
Now, a digitally restored version arrives in spectacular fashion with its mixture of bold imagery and biting wit.
Directed by the late, venerated animator Paul Grimault and written by poet and screenwriter Jacques Prevert, “The King and the Mockingbird” is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, but its themes of repression and rebellion are timeless. The pompous King Charles (voiced by Pascal Mazzotti), who hates his subjects and is equally hated in return, rules over the amusingly named land of Takicardia. His underlings and hangers-on run around so frantically trying to fulfill his every wish, you can imagine that their hearts are pounding.