My Life as a Courgette: stop motion and a tough childhood
Claude Barras, drawing from the novel by Gilles Paris, directed this animated movie using stop-motion techniques. With a troupe composed of twenty animators and his passion for sculpture
Icare is a child living with his alcoholic mother, who calls him “Courgette”. When she dies in an accident, Courgette is taken to the Fontaines foster home, where he meets other children, everyone with a sad familial situation in their past. After initial adjustment problems, he discovers the Fontaines to be a welcoming place, and the other children become a new family for him, even Simon becomes his friend, group leader and bully, who lost his parents to drug overdoses. Then there is Béatrice, constantly waiting for her mother, sent back to Africa; Ahmed, who loves dinosaurs; Alice, whose father is imprisoned for sexual abuse; and Jujube, whose mother passes time “opening and closing the fridge”.
One day, Camille arrives at the Fontaines and Courgette immediately falls in love with her. Her parents died, and her terrible aunt takes her home only for the family money. Courgette and Simon try to help her escape from the perfidious aunt.
Claude Barras, drawing from the novel by Gilles Paris, directed this animated movie using stop-motion techniques. With a troupe composed of twenty animators and his passion for sculpture, he created accurate scale models of the characters and locations.
The hardest task was to give expressiveness to the characters, not only modelling their faces but also by using good photography and working with the children who gave voices to each character. The director also visited many foster homes, to find inspiration and to better understand the life of the children inside these places.
With this movie, Barras shows the desire of every child to have a family and to be loved, dealing with a difficult theme with an excellent mixture of drama and humour.
He believes that bad things can bring people to the light, and happiness is always possible when meeting others and sharing your sorrow with them.
Director: Claude Barras
Writers: Céline Sciamma, Germano Zullo, Claude Barras, Morgan Navarro (based on the novel by Gilles Paris)
Cast: Gaspard Schlatter (Courgette), Sixtine Murat (Camille), Paulin Jaccoud (Simon), Michel Vuillermoz (Raymond), Raul Ribera (Ahmed), Estelle Hennard (Alice)