I know, I know...what the! But, here I am finally awoken from my 'Sleeping Betty' sort of slumber. Alas, no Prince Charming came to my rescue but at least it was a horse's swift kick that has jolted this bunny back up and staring with a stiff upper lip at Claude Cloutier's new short film. Sleeping Betty (Isabelle au bois dormant) not only took the Best Canadian film category at this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival but it also took the Public Award! In fact, after the showing of the film they introduce the film maker and I think Claude was caught like a moose in the headlights of the audiences thunderous applause.
Here is the synopsis of the film:
In a sumptuous palace in the basement of a house in a Montreal working-class neighbourhood, Princess Betty sleeps in a narcoleptic stupor. The king is at her bedside. He appeals to Uncle Henri VIII, Aunt Victoria, an emotional alien, a cool witch and, why not, a handsome prince! This worthy Prince Charles lookalike has to leave his royal suburb, confront a Canadian dragon and brave a surreal set of road rules in order to save the princess. But will Betty be wakened with just a kiss? (watch teaser)
Sleeping Betty is an anachronistic romp and rout through a richly illustrated style that could have easily come out of the pages of Punch magazine or the satirical caricature papers of the late 19th century. Mix that with Avery-style slap stick gags and let steep with the absurd predicaments that enfold in order to wake the too much Nyquil hibernation that Betty is in. Stir in a couple of lumps of Canadiana and now you've got the perfect brew to serve up in that cracked Queen Victoria patterned china cup. I would say though, that it is the ginger-snappy timing that carries this wordless film and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. In the end it will make you want to plant your own sloppy kiss on Betty in order to end the tea party insanity!!
Bonus: watch Claude's film Overdose here!