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Uploaded on Dec 9, 2008
Michel Ocelot's "Azur and Asmar" will open the 2009 San Joaquin Children's Film Festival, January 16 to 18, 2009
World Premiere at the 2006 Festival de Cannes, Director's Fortnight: The flagship of the 2009 San Joaquin Children's Film Festival, AZUR and ASMAR is the story of two boys raised as brothers. Blonde, blue-eyed, white skinned Azur and black-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned Asmar are lovingly cared for by Asmar's gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of beautiful, imprisoned Fairy Djinn waiting to be set free. Time passes, and 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 adult, Azur remains haunted by memories of the sunny land of his nanny, and sets sail south across the high seas to find the country of his dreams. Arriving as an immigrant in a strange land, Azur is rejected by everyone he meets on account of his "unlucky" blue eyes, until finally he resolves never to open those eyes again. The once-beautiful child clad in gold is reduced to a blind beggar. Yet, blind though he is, little by little and step by step, he discovers a beautiful and mysterious country. Meanwhile, back in her homeland, Azur's nanny has become a wealthy merchant and 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 Fairy of the Djinn.
From GKids: AZUR and ASMAR is an incredibly unique film whose visual beauty and artistic pedigree (French animation master Michel Ocelot's previous film, Kirikou and the Sorceress, was hailed as a "film of the year," and Azur and Asmar has already garnered incredible reviews from playing the Cannes Film Festival) ensures the interest of arthouse and upscale crowds, while the film's animated swashbuckling adventure can easily appeal to mainstream family audiences looking for something new and exciting. The film has been compared to classics like Spirited Away and other Hayao Miyazaki films, as well as Pan's Labyrinth, Persepolis, and Triplets of Belleville.