Monday, August 28, 2023


With the film opening Friday here is a repost of the review I ran when the film opened the New York International Children's Film Festival in March.

ERNEST AND CELESTINE A TRIP TO GIBBERTIA has the pair going to Ernest's home country in order to have his broken violin fixed. When they arrive they are shocked to find that a law named after Ernest, banned all music.

This charming film is a worthy follow up to the classic original. It’s a smile producing film that had the whole audience bouncing in their seats thanks to one of the most infectious score in years.

I really don’t know what else to say but this film warmed my heart. It was more time with good friends. I'm not going to say a great deal about the film other than it is very funny, genuinely moving, it has incredible set pieces and one of the greatest uses of music I've seen in years. The kids (and some adults) were literally dancing.

This year, when the sequel was announced, it was at the top of my list of things to see at the festival.  When good friend Reid Ramsey found out it was playing he insisted on coming along and we both had  a grand old time. Making things extra special  was the appearance of  co-director Jean-Christophe Roger came to the festival to do a Q&A (see below)  

My love for the world of Ernest and Celestine has been around for over a decade. I fell in love with the the characters I don’t know how many years ago when the original film played NYICFF and I was stunned by the magic I witnessed on the screen. The film delighted everyone who saw it and after the screening. After the original film played the magic on screen continued when director Benjamin Renner  answered questions for all the kids in attendance. The next year when the English language version played NYICFF Renner returned and sat outside the theater drawing pictures and signing autographs for the kids and adults. At the festival this year, the sequel brought that magic back as co-director Jean -Christophe Roger followed Renner's lead doing a Q&A, signing autographs and taking pictures with the kids and parents who were in love with the sequel. The Ernest and Celestine  films are clearly made by magicians who love their audience.

I have to say that Mr. Roger is a charming man who talked until he was forcibly removed from the stage. He was then swamped by kids who continued to ask questions in the theater and lobby. He was so in demand by the kids in the audience that the on the fly interview I arranged with the festival for after the screening ended up cut really short as we were ejected from the theater by the staff who said we had to go.

What a great way to open this year’s festival.

Below is Roger’s Q&A from Opening Night. The video isn’t perfect. While I was in the second row I had to get up a couple of times to let people by so they could go on the long lines to ask questions.

I should also mention that I will be posting the three question interview later today.

Summing up, the film is great,  thank you G-Kids for releasing the film.

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