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Dilili à Paris (Dilili in Paris)

Animation, adventure | France | 2018 | 95 min | French (English Subtitles) | For 10 years of age and older
By Michel Ocelot

With the help of her delivery-boy friend, Dilili, a young Kanak, investigates a spate of mysterious kidnappings of young girls that is plaguing Belle Epoque Paris.  In the course of her investigation she encounters a series of extraordinary characters, each of whom provides her with clues that will help her in her quest… After Kirikou and Azur & Asmar, Michel Ocelot returns with an enchanting new tale of brave young heroes, mysteries and discoveries, kidnappings and ordeals, extraordinary places and magical encounters, in which good must challenge dark forces and triumph.

Film Reviews

Ocelot’s story is charming and empowering, making its points subtly rather than through didactic ranting. However, the real reason to see it is Ocelot’s stunning animation.

– J.B. Spins

Dilili in Paris is initially a strange but ultimately rewarding viewing experience. It dares to be ambitious in its animation style, how the characters act and how everything looks. When it all comes together it is simply breath-taking. Dilili and Orel are fun to be around and their friendship feels believable, as do all the moments where Dilili meets new people and has new experiences all across Paris. The questions it asks, the ideas, issues and politics it raises are pitched at just the right level to develop a believable world with believable despicable villains. It isn't perfect but its ambition and style won me over and it is easily one of my top films of 2018.

– Animation for Adults
 

Ocelot's animation is delightful as ever. Some scenes are a riot of colour, some sparkle in a way Disney's animators could only dream of, and there is occasional use of the silhouette work that marked out films like Tales Of The Night and Ivan Tsarevitch and The Changing Princess. Dilili's very direct gaze will not easily be forgotten, though for all her spirit we are not allowed to forget that she's a child, with a child's anxieties. In a film full of remarkable people she's a reminder that even the smallest among us can make a difference, and a fantastic heroine in her own right. 

– Eye for Film

Taking his lyrical and pedagogical brand of animation all the way back to La Belle Époque, writer-director Michel Ocelot offers up a pleasantly meaningful journey through French cultural history in his latest feature, Dilili in Paris. History and culture buffs will appreciate how packed with such information the film can be, yet it’s ultimately driven by Dilili’s sincere and feisty presence. As a black girl in a nearly all-white Paris, she’s a source of both disdain (a few people call her a “monkey”) and curiosity, especially when she speaks in her impeccably polite French. (…)

Ocelot’s ornate visuals, which create a virtual map of Paris at the turn of the last century, are accompanied by a playful score from Gabriel Yared (Cold Mountain) and several musical pieces of the time — including Erik Satie’s Gnossienne: No. 1, which provides one of many occasions for the characters to break out in song and dance.

– Hollywood Reporter