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Sebastian und die Feuerretter (Belle & Sebastian, Belle et Sébastien)
France 2013

Opening 28 Jan 2016

Directed by: Nicolas Vanier
Writing credits: Juliette Sales, Fabien Suarez, Nicolas Vanier, Cécile Aubry
Principal actors: Félix Bossuet, Tchéky Karyo, Margaux Châtelier, Dimitri Storoge, Andreas Pietschmann

In 1945 at the end of the Second World War, 10-year-old orphaned Sébastian lives in the French Alps with an old man named César. His devoted dog Belle is always by his side. They are waiting for the arrival of César’s daughter and Sébastian’s surrogate mother, Angelina, whom they haven’t seen for two years. What a shock to hear that her flight has crashed into the forest. Pierre, a rambunctious pilot, rightly proud of his wartime successes, but now flying on private assignments, is persuaded to take off for the search. He is not amused to find two stowaways, namely Sébastian and Belle. Their search is interrupted by flames shooting from the trees (a result of the original plane crash), a bear, lumber jacks working nearby, strong winds, and high tension as they seek shelter in a cave. Sébastian meets Gabrielle, a young girl disguised as a boy, who lives and works with the lumber jacks.

The storyline, as well as the beautifully photographed scenery, are reminiscent of recent films: Heidi and The von-Trapp Family. If Heidi reached out to young girls, this film definitely will appeal to young boys. The story is exciting and slowly reveals family secrets. Belle is played by a beautiful, white furry canine, definitely talented, e.g., how often do you see a dog chew gum on film? He bravely protects Sébastian against the bear. This is a sequel to the 2013 French film Belle et Sébastian, both originally books by Cécile Aubry, which then went into a French children’s TV series and then into the cinema. This newest version is much fun for the whole family. A Feuerretter is someone who rescues people from a fire. (Becky Tan)

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