Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea (2002)

MV5BNDM0YzFiMzItZDMxOC00YjIyLThiNTktZWU1MGYwMmRhNWY3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU3ODUxMTc@._V1_UY1200_CR125,0,630,1200_AL_The Ballad of the Salt Sea (2002)  

He’s dreaming with his eyes open, and those that dream with their eyes open are dangerous, for they do not know when their dreams come to an end” (Hugo Pratt, taking inspiration from the famous quote by T.E. Lawrence).

“When I want to relax, I read an essay by Engels. When I want something more serious to read, I read Corto Maltese” (Umberto Eco).

La Ballade de la mer salée” or “The Ballad of the Salt Sea” (2002) is a French-language TV animation based on the Italian comics of the adventures of Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt. Corto Maltese is a mysterious and freedom-loving adventurer and sailor who travels the world in search of excitement and fortune, and is found in the early twentieth century in such places as Southern Europe, Arabia, Africa and Russia. In “The Ballad of the Salt Sea”, Corto is found sailing in the Pacific Ocean, and is in the midst of a shady deal with Rasputin, a psychopathic pirate and a Siberian army escapee, and with a man simply called the Monk, while the World War I is about to officially begin and the ocean is full of military ships.

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10 “Must-See” Animated Films from 2010s

  1. Inside Out (2015)

inside-outThe winner of the Academy Award in the category of the Best Animated Picture of 2015, “Inside Out” is a film about a little girl who moves with her parents from suburban Minnesota to San Francisco. The movie is a little masterpiece, and it is a great injustice it was not nominated for an Academy Award in the general category. The main brilliance of the movie is its originality and intelligence – it teaches young children about psychology: the movie is divided into the “real world” and the “world inside the mind” of a person. There are different emotions that govern the decision-making processes: joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust, each represented by an “entity”, as well as other processes such as short-term and long-term memories, personality-building, dream processes, etc. The movie is laugh-out-aloud funny, extremely entertaining, and flawless in its execution and content, even though very young kids may fail to grasp the meaning of everything that is going on. Overall, “Inside Out” is an instant classic, and, easily, one of best animated films I have ever seen. 10/10

  1. April and the Extraordinary World (2016)

april-in-the-extraordinary-worldApril and the Extraordinary World” is a French-Belgian-Canadian animated film co-directed by Christian Desmares (animator behind “Corto Maltese in Siberia” (2002) and “Persepolis” (2007)) and Franck Ekinci. It tells of a teenage girl, April (voiced by Marion Cotillard in a French version), who, together with her talking cat Darwin and her grandfather Pops, is looking for her long-lost scientist parents. The year is 1941, and it is an alternate reality: there are no scientists left who could have made the “progress”, such as electricity, possible. The world is “stuck” in a steam age, and the city’s scientists have been “witch-hunted” for decades. However, the final act of the film may be too brutal and “over-the top”, and the relationship between April and her love interest is reminding too much of that found in “Anastasia” (1997)[1]. Sometimes reminding in its setting and ideas of  Schuiten & Peeters’s comic Brüsel, sometimes reminiscing of some Tintin adventure, the movie is a great one overall: clever and very imaginative, full of exciting adventure. 9/10 Read more of this post

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