The Unwanted… The Abuser… The Dog…

Film: Belle et Sébastien, Nouvelle Generation

Directed by: Pierre Coré

Duration: 96 minutes

A huge round of applause echoed throughout the theatre at the end of a film that was showcased at IFFI 53. This French movie, Belle et Sébastien, Nouvelle Generation, even left some people in tears.

While reading the description of the movie, I was expecting a typical dog film which has a dash of cute elements and heartwarming scenes sprinkled in. However, I was blown away after watching it as there were so many elements and layers that made it epic and almost surprising.

The opening scene started with the main character, a 10-year-old boy named Sébastien, an aloof-looking character, who saw someone getting bullied and decided to take action and save the victim. Unfortunately, that resulted in an unexpected result – the bully started chasing Sébastien and ended up getting hit by a car! This incident led to him being taken reluctantly for a mountain vacation where he had to stay with his grandmother who seemed to show no enthusiasm with the arrival of her grandson.

These scenes were filmed at a place between France and Spain. It was a visual treat on so many levels. The aerial shots of the mountains with the clouds enveloping the peaks in a foggy hug were truly mesmerizing to watch. This unseen part of the world along with an amazing plot line made it an unforgettable movie.

The characters were magnificently portrayed. For example, the abusive dog owner who was also Sébastien’s aunt’s love interest, caused feelings of uneasiness within the audience as he progressively slipped into an uncontrolled range of emotions. Even the animals seemed to have professional acting skills. The bumbling sheep were really entertaining while Belle and the other animals showed so much personality and emotions such as jealousy, compassion, helplessness, anger, and joy in such an evocative way.

The director Pierre Coré revealed: “Four dogs were used for the main role. It took eight months to train them.”

What started out as a cute animal movie ended up containing shady business deals, betrayals, dangerous attacks, fatal mistakes, and a lot of action! It’s definitely a movie worth watching whether you are a dog lover or not.