Africa in Motion 2011 animation strand wins the day

Africa in Motion 2011's Animated strand wins the day

Festival blog: Burkinabé animated film L'arbre aux esprits (Tree of Spirits)

Animation is a small but rapidly growing genre in African cinema. L’arbre aux esprits (Tree of Spirits) is one of several animated films to be screened at Africa in Motion 2011 as part their children’s programme, taking place on Saturday.

The story follows brother and sister team Kodue and Tano who live in a land starved of rain, where water is a precious commodity. Coming across a vast baobab they become pulled into a magical struggle to engage the help of the ancestors in order to save the tree from the threat of a greedy business man, and in doing so free the spirit of rain back to the land.

Made in Burkina Faso the characters speak in French with English subtitles. To assist younger viewers who may struggle to keep up with the text the dialogue has also been dubbed into English and layered over the original. This can make for a bit of a clumsy confusion of noise at times, but the benefits here probably outweigh a slick delivery. The animation itself is computer generated which gives a sense of 3D texture to the scenes, while the characters are charmingly expressive. It’s not Pixar, but then that’s not the point. An endearing tale which manages to present the topical issue of climate change to a young audience with plenty of adventure and fantasy along the way.

You can catch this and a host of other animated kids offerings at Filmhouse on Saturday 5 November at 1pm.

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