Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

The King and the Mockingbird 1979

Le Roi et l'oiseau

Directed by Paul Grimault

Perfect for children and challenging to adults, the great Miyazaki has cited this 1980 French animation and its warped world of fairytale characters as a major influence.

France In French with English subtitles
87 minutes 35mm

Director, Editor


Paul Grimault, Jacques Prévert. Based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen


Gérard Soirant


Wojciech Kilar


Jean Martin
Pascal Mazzotti
Raymond Bussières
Angès Viala


Conceived in the late 40s by animator Paul Grimault and writer Jacques Prévert, this was intended to be France's first full-length animated feature, but, due to budgetary problems, it was left incomplete until 1980. An eye-opener still, it’s been cited as a major influence by the great Miyazaki. A pompous, cross-eyed ruler – named "King Charles V + III = VIII + VIII = XVI" – is in love with a girl in a painting. The two-dimensional beauty, however, desires the dashing young chimney sweep in the frame next door. Drawn to one another, this pair decides to elope, stepping out of the paintings and into Grimault's endlessly bizarre past and future castle/town…

“It's beautiful, it's twisted, it's funny, it's morbid, and while watching it, while deep in its warped world of fairytale characters, Christian lions, and police jet skis, you'll be disturbed (or fascinated – depending on your disposition) by that eerie sense of being exposed to something so completely alien to your intelligence. It is the perfect film for children, and a challenging one for adults.” — Charles Mudede, The Stranger