One of the many enduring pleasures of “Ernest and Célestine,” the 2014 French film about the unlikely bond between a bear and a mouse, is its intense melding of music and imagery. The story (based on the books by Gabriel Vincent) is presented with gossamer drawings, linked to their accompanying score in such a way that the images sometimes ripple, swell, and curl with the musical notes.
“Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberiteia” Is A sequel to the Oscar-nominated film Gems, this time the story focuses on music as an essential condition of community. Courageous, beautiful mouse Célestine (voiced by Pauline Brunner) and sly troublemaker Ernest (Lambert Wilson) travel to Ernest’s hometown, Gibberitia, a majestic but despotic town in the mountains where music is no longer legal. Even birds are not untouched; Those who join in are chased away and killed by the police.
While the previous film leaned toward Célestine, “A Trip to Gibbritia,” directed by Julien Cheng and Jean-Christophe Roger, centers on Ernest, a prodigal cub who soon learns that his father, a state judge, Banned because of malice.
The brisk, lively plot has flashes of French revolutionary spirit—a band of rebel musicians calls their underground movement “the Resistance”—but the film’s real magic lies in the illustrations. The backgrounds are full of pictorial detail, and the smallest changes in the characters’ faces convey a world of emotion. In a film whose moral principles emphasize the need for artistic freedom, there’s a deceptive simplicity in this aesthetic that makes it all the more special.
Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberiteia
not evaluated. In French, with subtitles. Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes. in Theaters.