More than a coming-of-age film, “Perlimps,” the third feature film by Oscar nominee Alȇ Abreu (“The Boy and the World”), could be seen as a dazzling love letter to children.
Perlimps” fosters children’s awareness of social and ecological issues and a taste for art, while offering a film of artistic ambition and visual complexity.
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The story centers on Claé and Bruô, who are secret agents from the enemy Sun and Moon Kingdoms sent to an Enchanted Forest threatened by giants. The only way they can protect the forest is to join forces and find the Perlimps, mysterious creatures that might hold the solution for peace.
“Perlimps” is produced by São Paulo-based producers and directors Laís Bodansky and Luiz Bolognesi at Buriti Filmes and Ernesto Soto.
Sold by Belgium’s Best Friend Forever, it is screened at the Annecy official selection as a special event. Brazilian musician-turned-director Alȇ Abreu delivers a visually lush story of friendship, as well as bold animation techniques, in his new feature film.
Did you have a specific target audience in mind when making “Perlimps”?
I’ve always envisioned the audience as a broad spectrum, including parents, teens, and kids. It never crossed my mind that we were making a children’s movie. I was more driven by my own desire to explore the color palette and try a more complex technique after the minimalism of “The Boy and the World”.
The film could be considered in some way as a love letter to children, among other things, awakening in them a taste for art through its unique use of colours…
Color gives us many layers of expression and vibration. Using the full spectrum of colors allows me to convey feelings that I would not otherwise be able to put into words. I loved starting with the backgrounds made with hand drawings using colored ink very loosely. And then using almost random color spots to find the scenery for each scene. I will be delighted and honored if this also awakens a taste for art in some children. But I confess that was not on my radar. Or maybe it was but unconsciously.
Among your frequent inspirations is Studio Ghibli, but apart from animation, do you have other references in other areas, perhaps French painters?
Painting has always influenced me. When I imagine a scene, my first approach is that of a painter rather than an animator, arranging elements and colors. For me there is a plastic pleasure in making a film that is not separated from the narrative intentions. Furthermore, I think it strengthens the process.
About the references in “Perlimps” I would of course mention the Matisse paper cutouts. But there are many more. And I think they’re so mixed up in my work that I can’t identify them anymore.
Could you summarize the techniques used in “Perlimps”?
In fact, in this film we had tremendous freedom to combine techniques and tools. We have used hand drawn ink stains. Traditional 2D, 3s animation [holding drawings for three frames] and for 2s [two frames], depending on the scenes. We have also used 3D for some objects that would be rendered in 2D.
The film also gives kids a glimpse of the unnerved world they live in…
I think the film became clearer and clearer as we got closer to the end. Things have gotten pretty ugly in Brazil, but polarization and confrontation are happening everywhere. Now we even have a terrible war in the heart of Europe. The inspiration for this film arose from a vision of childhood as a physical space or territory –the Enchanted Forest– where everything would be possible, where there would be no barriers to friendship and where we would find a connection with nature and with all living beings. .
The film also has an environmental conscience….
I was not always aware of the ecological message. Perhaps because I live in Brazil, where the preservation of the Amazon rainforest is a great challenge and responsibility, we have a greater awareness of the dangers of deforestation and the importance of learning from native indigenous communities about how we can live in harmony with nature. . On the other hand, I firmly believe that we are raising a new generation of children with a greater awareness of the environment, and that gives me hope.
Given your work system, you could well be already preparing your next film. Could you anticipate some aspects of it?
In fact, I have already made some sketches of what will probably be my next project. In fact, it will be a more minimalist project, but it will be a story about childhood and coming of age, and it will probably establish a strong dialogue with “The Boy and the World” and even “Perlimps”. I think we’re always trying to tell a similar story with different tools and techniques, maybe from a different point of view. But the essence remains.
Credit: Best friend forever
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