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The Painting

5.0 1
Director: Jean-Francois Laguionie, Kamali Minter, Jessica Monceau, Michael Sinterniklass

Cast: Jean-Francois Laguionie, Kamali Minter, Jessica Monceau, Michael Sinterniklass


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Director Jean-François Laguionie crafted this rich, artist parable set in a world of classical paintings, where one woman's imperfections have rendered her a social outcast. In a kingdom of extraordinary color, society has been split into three castes: the Allduns, who have been completed by the Painter, dwell in sprawling


Director Jean-François Laguionie crafted this rich, artist parable set in a world of classical paintings, where one woman's imperfections have rendered her a social outcast. In a kingdom of extraordinary color, society has been split into three castes: the Allduns, who have been completed by the Painter, dwell in sprawling mansions at the top; the Halfies, who have been left somewhat incomplete, are the commoners; and at the bottom are the wretched Sketchies -- crude charcoal scribbles that have been cast off into the cursed forest. Castigated for her love of noble Alldun Ramo, heartbroken Halfie Claire vanishes into the forest. Meanwhile, Ramo and Lola set out to find Claire, braving the dreaded Death Flowers at the edge of the forest and eventually crossing through the canvas into the Painter's abandoned studio. Now with each new painting these intrepid explorers enter, they come one step closer to understanding what the Painter had envisioned for them when he first put brush to canvas.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Of all the problems confronting a critic, perhaps none is as confounding as attempting to describe an animated motion picture that breaks new aesthetic ground -- for the most audacious and breathtaking examples transcend the very limitations of words. The Painting -- a staggering feature by Frenchman Jean-François Laguionie -- raises that maxim to a whole new level. In addition to a narrative that is rife to bursting with conceptual invention, its images defy description. This isn't a movie; it's a visual smorgasbord, a 76-minute intoxication of the senses. The story rests on an inspired conceit: What would happen, Laguionie asks, if each tableau on an artist's wall somehow encompassed its own miniature world, subject to its own rules and laws and occupied by its own population? At the outset of the story, we travel inside one such painting, a kind of medieval sphere inhabited by three "species" -- the Allduns, a series of characters completely finished by the creator, who have all of their colors intact; the Halfies, subjects half finished, who long for the strokes of a brush that will bring them to 100%; and the Sketchies, crude and frail charcoal sketches who began as conceptual ideas and remained at that level. Within this realm, a three-tiered class system has developed -- the Allduns are pompous, supercilious wealthmongers who live a ritzy life in a castle-like setting, treating the Halfies as social outcasts and the forest-dwelling Sketchies as disgusting, repulsive vermin. A tale of verboten love emerges from this environment between the Alldun boy Ramo and the Halfie girl Claire. If this sounds like the setup for a series of clichés -- a thinly veiled parable about racism, for example, or a Romeo and Juliet clone -- rest assured that the story does not end there. It takes a dazzling and unforeseeable turn when several of the characters venture out into the "real world" of the artist's studio and begin to explore the microcosms of neighboring paintings. It is here that the breadth of Laguionie's imagination fully takes hold, with fascinating pontifications about the notions of reality and existence within the onscreen world (and the worlds within that world), which, of course, parallel the existential enigmas at the heart of our actual human experience. One of the sneakiest aspects of the movie manifests itself at this stage: In lieu of witnessing a hundred disparate artistic styles represented in the workshop, we get numerous slight variations of the same style applied to a whole host of themed canvases -- which makes more sense conceptually because one artist is responsible for all of these creations. Laguionie interpolates everything from trippy abstraction (in dream sequences involving Claire, frightening plants, a leaf bed, and an enormous eye) to at least one image that recalls old European newsreels (silhouetted toy soldiers marching in formation); all of the aesthetic variations on display here -- and there are too many to count -- are delightful. Curiously, though the movie is enormously satisfying and children would love some individual passages of it, it isn't really suitable for kids. For one thing, it's too heady and contemplative for small fries; the closest mainstream animated equivalent might be Ratatouille, with its meditations on an artist's need to create, but The Painting's philosophical musings have far more in common with movies that lie well outside the confines of Hollywood -- such as John David Wilson's Shinbone Alley or Bruno Bozzetto's 1976 Allegro Non Troppo. The content of The Painting is also a shade too objectionable to really qualify it as family fare; for instance, we get scary sequences involving a scythe-wielding Grim Reaper and a tentacled Chinese dragon-like monster who chases an animated little boy through the streets of Venice, an abstract montage that visually demonstrates male/female union through intercourse, and an extended scene in which a nude woman in a painting converses with the lead characters, bare breasts in full view. On every level, The Painting reminds us that the most exciting animated work is emerging beyond U.S. shores. Pixar films may be excellent commercial product with superb artistry on display, but when held up to the Laguionie movie, they prove that even a 200-million-dollar budget cannot always guarantee the broadest and deepest imagination available to a filmmaker; they have also never dared to take the kind of stylistic and narrative risks quite as extreme as the ones that Laguionie incorporates here. In a fair and just world, The Painting would be a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature at Oscar time, or at least a strong contender. That seems highly unlikely given the hegemony of Hollywood animated pictures, and it's shameful, for the film merits that level of honor and recognition.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
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Special Features

Making of featurette; Concept art slideshow; Original french audio track with english subtitles; U.S. trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kamali Minter Lola (English version)
Jessica Monceau Lola (French version)
Michael Sinterniklass Ramo (English version)
Adrien Larmande Ramo (French version)
Eden Riegel Claire (English version)
Chloe Berthier Claire (French version)
Marc Thompson The Great Chandelier (English version)
Jacques Roehrich Le Grand Chandelier (French version)
Vinnie Penna Quill (English version)
Thierry Jahn Plume (French version)
Colin Depaula Gum (English version)
Julien Bouanich Gom (French version)
Spike Spencer Magenta (English version)
Thomas Sagols Magenta (French version)
Christopher Kromer Graymorgan (English version)
Jérémy Prévost Monsieur Gris (French version)
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn Florence (English version)
Steven Blum Self Portrait (English version)
Jean-Francois Laguionie L'autoportrait et Le Peintre
Colleen O'Shaughnessy Harlequin (English version)
Céline Ronte Garance (French version)
JB Blanc The Painter/Venice Painter (English version)
Sam Riegel Silhouette (English version)
David B. Mitchell Pierrot/Grim Reaper (English version)
Magali Rosenzweig Orange de Mars (French version)
Michel Vigne Le Capitaine (French version)
Jean Barney Le peintre de Venise (French version)
Serge Faliu Pierrot (French version)

Technical Credits
Jean-Francois Laguionie Director
Sébastien Ariaux Sound Mixer
Emmanuel de Miranda Editor
Nils Fauth Sound Mixer
Armelle Glorennec Executive Producer
Eric Jacquot Executive Producer
Helene Lambotte Production Manager
Pascal LePennec Score Composer
Jean Palentstijn Set Decoration/Design
Anik Le Ray Screenwriter
Bruno Seznec Sound Mixer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Painting
1. Welcome [5:46]
2. The Speech [5:45]
3. Forbidden Forest [6:53]
4. Searching for the Painter [5:40]
5. On the Outside [9:15]
6. Waking the Others [7:34]
7. Lost in Venice [10:41]
8. Learning to Paint [6:16]
9. Returning Home [6:27]
10. Execution Black [5:25]
11. Makeovers [3:14]
12. The Painter [6:34]


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The Painting 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
An amazing creative accomplishment. The art and music are wonderful, and the fantasy and allegory are too. Astonishing to think of all the work that went into it. The Message is timeless and especially relevant to the present 1% of our society. I wish kids of all ages would see it. No Disney fluff here.