Out on DVD this month: A Monster in Paris
Paris is the set for love, ambition, friendship and odd scientific experiments, so get in the mood for a dance: it’s show time!
After The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale, Bibo Bergeron delivers a little gem with his third movie. There’s nothing like Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, when the art of cabaret was thriving and enchanting everyone. In A Monster in Paris, Raoul is a young deliveryman who swears only by his truck Catherine, but also turns into a creative inventor in his spare time. As he enters his friend’s lab one day and plays around with eccentric phials, he creates what will soon be called the 'Monster of Paris'.
The 'monster', a giant singing flea, as scared as the next person, struggles to find its place within the streets of the French capital. With the help of Lucille, a talented singer who lives with her aunt at the cabaret “L’Oiseau rare” (rare bird), the monster Francoeur ‘Honest heart’, soon becomes a stage item while using the cabaret as a hideout. But Lucille's aunt tries hard to get her engaged to Commissioner Maynott, an ambitious and ruthless policeman, who'd love to increase his popularity, by catching the Monster, in Paris
In this animation full of life and love, the character's destinies will be tied with the arrival of the Monster at the cabaret. And Paris night life will rock again with the best stage duo ever seen at "L’Oiseau rare”. While the Seine is flooding and in between the character's love tangles, our heroes try hard to keep Francoeur out of harm’s way, for he is hunted down by Maynott whose lust for power – become the Mayor of Paris - has no limit.
The original version (in French) of the song La Seine, performed by Vanessa Paradis and M (Mathieu Chedid):
The director, Bibo, says he felt nostalgic of Paris after moving to the United States in 1997 and had the idea for a long time. Finding his inspiration from the beginning of the 20th century, “A Monster in Paris” is his tribute to “an incredibly effervescent period when science and technology was revolutionised, and everything was very musical”.
And to make the perfect musical movie, who else than a musician who has in the past created his own character? That is one of the reasons why Bergeron wanted to collaborate with Matthieu Chedid, also known as -M-, who “grasped the romantic mood of the movie”.
And once both of them got things started, they needed a lead female voice, so Matthieu Chedid proposed Vanessa Paradis, with whom he had previously worked. She is the voice of Lucille in both English and French, and although “the musicality of the two languages isn’t the same, the sense that you give to a line comes from the words, so it remains identical” Paradis says. Her French touch in the English version makes the movie even more authentic and the wonderful Sean Lennon steps into M's guitar.
The decors of early 20th century Paris are truly amazing and the musical scenes just sweep you into the mood. Critics have praised the enchantment of “La Belle Epoque”, The Beautiful Era, and the originality of the movie. Of course, music plays a major part in bringing the tale to a whole new level of poetry and fresh humour. A tale that will fill everyone with wonders and a longing for Paris.
A Monster in Paris trailer, in English: