Kirikou

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African Folk Lore

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Kirikou is a tiny little boy who knows exactly what he wants even before his birth. He is independent, selfless and brave. He is determined to fight Karaba, the dreaded sorceress.

KirikouThe director says he imagined Kirikou so tiny so that the confrontation with Karaba would be the more striking: he is tiny and naked whereas she is very tall, elegant and impressive with all the jewelry she wears. His diminished size also enables him to enter places where others cannot go. Naturally, Kirikou is not content with being so small and so different from all the other children; he would love to be fully grown.

Kirikou wants to save his people, but at the same time he is determined to discover why Karaba is so wicked. He is a little boy who doesn't agree with what the villagers seek to make him think and do; he wants to look further and find his own answers to his own questions.


Karaba is powerful, wicked and very beautiful. KarabaShe could never be ugly. The Wise Man of the Mountain says of her: " Karaba doesn't like children, despises women, hates men and wishes upon them as much suffering as possible". There is a reason, however, for her malice and Kirikou wants to find out what it is. In the end, we discover that she has suffered at the hands of men and is reeking her revenge against them.

She lives alone, surrounded by fetishes, in kind of giant straw hut on the edge of the village, gray on the outside (death and destruction), and red on the inside (hellfire).


Kirikou's Mother is a young woman, Motherproud and largely ignored by the rest of the village, as is her son. Like him, she is independent and open-minded. She accepts fully the premature independence of her son. Nevertheless she is a mother and despite her discretion, she will always be there when Kirikou needs her.


Kirikou's Uncle Uncleis a simple young man, one of the few men still left in the village. He is no hero, he does what is asked of him and never questions anything.


The Wise Man The Wise Manof the Forbidden Mountain is Kirikou's grandfather. He is gentle, forgiving and handsome. He represents serene old age and is charitable and noble, unlike the timorous, driveling old man of the village.


The Fetishes Fetishesare fearless slaves of various shapes and sizes who serve Karaba. They live with her and obey her orders without question. Inspiration for these characters came entirely from African sculptures.


The director used animals Animalsfound in Africa: hoopoes, zorils, ground squirrels, wart hogs, snakes? These aren't at all humanized, they are and remain animals, who are more inspiring than artificial talking animals.


The director did not Plantswant to use the plants used a thousand times already in animated films. So he imposed the following rule: drawings of plants has to be exact reproductions of real tropical plants, though they are stylized and based on Egyptian drawings as well as those of the Douanier Rousseau. He wanted each plant in the film, even those hidden in the forest, to be a small masterpiece. You will see that the artists abided by these rules rather well.

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