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Dutch version of The Cid premiers at Anima 2008

4 februari 2008
During the opening weekend of Anima, cast and crew of the Dutch speaking version of Le Cid by Emmanuelle Gorgiard attended the world premiere of this stop motion animation based on the famous play by Corneille.
Geert Van Goethem with director Emmanuelle Gorgiard & crew *Producer Geert Van Goethem of S.O.I.L. was very proud to welcome French director Emmanuelle Gorgiard and almost the entire cast, including some of Flanders' finest stage actors. Actor Michael Pas was not only in charge of voice direction but also translated the original French text which was written almost 400 years ago. 'We found an old translation by Michiel de Swaen in the Royal Library, but the vocabulary was too outdated to be comprehensible for the audience', says Pas. 'So I tried to make a contemporary translation with a bit of a classical touch. And of course I respected the metre and wrote everything in alexandrines.' Le Cid tells the story of young lovers Chimène and Rodrigo. Their relationship is troubled when the father of Chimène insults the father of Rodrigo. Revenge must save the honour of Rodrigo's family, so Rodrigo kills Chimène's father. It is a story with universal themes, such as the stupidity of vanity and the destructive powers of stubbornness and revenge.Le Cid In her version, French director Emmanuelle Gorgiard portrays a group of insects who perform the famous theatrical play. Consequently, the film works on two levels, with 'actors' sometimes falling out of character. 'That was a very fun aspect to work on', says Michael Pas. 'When they are performing the play, the characters speak in a very formal, old fashioned manner, and in between they are chattering and whispering among themselves. That is why I specifically asked a number of talented stage actors to do the voices. They were immediately charmed by this project and also curious about it, since they don't receive proposals about animation involving alexandrines on a daily basis…' Geert Van Goethem was present when the voices were recorded and was very impressed by the teamwork of the actors. 'They have this kind of insider's language, they need only a few words to understand each other perfectly. Emmanuelle Gorgiard, who doesn't speak Dutch, was even more pleased with the Dutch version than with the original French, because she instinctly felt that Michael Pas was totally on the same wavelength. So it certainly paid off to give him carte blanche'. Pas and Van Goethem got in touch through Brussels based Sonicville who worked on the movie as sound recordists. Ben Tesseur & Steven De Beul from Beast Animation *The crew of animators was also present at the 'big screen world premiere' of Le Cid. 'We finished our work on this movie about two years ago', says Ben Tesseur of Beast Animation. The puppets were made in France, we sent Christine Polis and Christophe Lebrun to help working on that part of the film. Meanwhile, we spent about five months building the set in Brussels. Then we brought the puppets here and started animating. All in all, it took us about 10 months to animate Le Cid. In the middle of production, we moved everything from Belgium to France. My partner Steven De Beul and his colleague continued animating in France and our DOP also joined them. Since everything takes place in the same setting, we had to be very cautious with light and everything. Especially because we could not afford to shoot chronologically. All the wide shots had to be made in our studio in Brussels, because we have a lot more space here.'Steven De Beul at work in the studio of Beast Animation While the French co-producer, Vivement Lundi!, tackles the international market for the distribution of the original French version, S.O.I.L. will offer the Dutch version to film festivals in Holland and Flanders. 'We also hope to be able to sell it to television', says Linda Sterckx of S.O.I.L. 'Moreover, we are considering to develop a package for schools like they already have in France.' This package is aimed at secondary schools, but at the premiere in Brussels the reactions and the laughter of the little children in the audience proved that Le Cid works on different levels. 'It is definitely not a kids movie', agrees Linda Sterckx, 'but small children also respond very well to it.'Le Cid * pictures 1,2 & 4 © Mich Leemans