Telluride Film Festival: Sunday at The Palm, “Azur & Asmar”

Telluride Film Festival: Sunday at The Palm, “Azur & Asmar”

[click “Play” to listen to Erika Gordon speak about Sunday at the Palm]

 The Telluride Film Festival’s Sunday at The Palm series continues this weekend, March 14, 4:00 pm, with a film that brought critics to their knees:

– New York Times

– Variety

– Hollywood Reporter

“Is it too early to announce the most beautiful film of 2009?”
“It’s hard to imagine a more transporting cinematic experience!”
– Chicago Tribune

“Azur & Asmar: The Prince’s Quest (2006, 99 minutes, PG), the whimsical, epic animated feature from award-winning director Michel Ocelot, is the story of two boys raised as brothers. This masterpiece premiered as part of the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 . It had its American premiere in 2008 in New York.  The opening was meant to run for one week, but sold- out shows triggered a second week of screenings. When those sold out, a third and final week got tacked on before the film made the rounds to other lucky American cities.  Now “Azur & Asmar” comes to Telluride on the big screen to enchant children of all ages.

Blonde, blue-eyed, white-skinned Azur and black-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned Asmar are doted upon by Asmar’s gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of the beautiful, imprisoned Djinn Fairy waiting to be released from captivity by an heroic prince. Time passes. One day Azur’s father, the master of the house, provokes a brutal separation. Azur is sent away to study, while Asmar and his mother are driven out, homeless and penniless.

Years later, as a young adults, Azur remains haunted by memories of the sunny land of the nurse  who raised him. He sets sail south across the high seas to find her country A stranger in a strange land, Azur is rejected by everyone he meets because of his “unlucky” blue eyes, which drives him to resolve never to open those eyes again. The once-beautiful boy is reduced to a blind beggar. Meanwhile, back in her homeland, Azur’s nanny has become a wealthy merchant and her son Asmar has grown into a dashing horseman. Reunited, but now as adversaries, the two brothers set off on a dangerous quest to find and free the Djinn Fairy.  Only one of the young men will be successful in his quest.Ocelot explained that the visual style of this “impossibly gorgeous medieval fairytale adventure” ( was derived from French art, Persian miniatures, and Islamic civilization from the Middle Ages – to name a just few of his resources and references.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to the Telluride Film Festival’s education and outreach liaison, Erika Gordon rap rhapsodically.
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