Claude Barras’ stop-motion animated fable runs to a sprightly 66 minutes but packs a bigger emotional wallop than films twice the length.
Small is indeed beautiful and every hand-crafted frame is delicately threaded with themes of alienation, guilt, jealousy and redemption that should strike a deep emotional chord.
Nine-year-old, blue-haired Icare (voiced by Gaspard Schlatter), who answers to the nickname Courgette, lives in a sparsely furnished room in the attic.
He shares an untidy home with his mother (Natacha Koutchoumov), who rages against her ex-husband by throwing empty beer cans at the TV screen.
During a drunken rage, the matriarch takes a tragic tumble down the stairs and police officer Raymond (Michel Vuillermoz) spirits the boy to an orphanage run by caring headmistress Madame Papineau (Monica Budde).Four stars