Aaron Reviews Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci’s April and the Extraordinary World [PIFF 2016]


April and the Extraordinary World is a uniquely French animated tale, with elements of steampunk and Jules Verne. It is set in an elaborate revisionist, alternate history, where the world was drastically altered from the Napoleonic era. By the 1930s, the world’s technology is still centered on steam and coal, and there is a decidedly anti-science stance from the empire in power. Rather than gas powered automobile, railway or aircraft for transportation, they rely on steam-powered automobiles, dirigibles, and cable cars. The latter will allow someone to travel from Paris to Berlin in a mere 82 hours.

The animated images of this alternate version of Paris are almost always captivating, and sometimes breathtaking. The aesthetic complements the fast-paced, adventurous narrative, as April dangerously tries to continue her parents illicit scientific legacy. It is a riveting and enjoyable journey with strong voice acting from familiar stars such as Marion Cotillard, Jean Rochefort and Olivier Gourmet. Rather than remaining grounded by the constraints of the steam world, it takes us to a truly fantastic and science fiction world, which is where the Jules Verne influence is most notable. April is a delightful film, accessible and family friendly.

Sat, Feb 13, 2016 at 1:15 PM (Regal Fox Tower)

Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 6 PM (Regal Fox Tower)


Aaron West

I am a somewhat educated Criterion dork, with a History and Film Studies bachelor's degree and plenty of self-education over the years. My tastes are all over the map. Probably my favorite is 1930s French Poetic Realism, but I like everything from noir, to animation, to horror, westerns, and modern film. Usually I prefer film that challenges and requires something of the viewer.

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