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Once upon a time there were two children who grew up together - Azur, the blue-eyed son of a nobleman, and Asmar, the dark-eyed child of a nurse. As they grow up, the nurse tells them many enchanting stories, but their favorite is about a beautiful fairy waiting to be released from captivity by a good and heroic prince. The two boys are as close as brothers, until the day Azur's father cruelly separates them, banishing Asmar from his home and sending Azur away for private education. Some years later Azur sets out to a land far away to find Asmar and to see if the legend of the fairy is true. Finally reunited, Azur and Asmar set out to see who will be the first to rescue the fairy.
Leisurely paced and intricately rendered, this computer-animated fable centers around two men from the Middle Ages who grow up as brothers, suffer a separation, and learn to live as equals again. North African nanny Jénane (Hiam Abbass in the French version; Suzanna Nour in the English) raises her brown-eyed son, Asmar, and his blue-eyed friend, Azur, but the latter comes from a line of noblemen. Jénane teaches the toddlers a song about a prince who rescues the Djinn Fairy from captivity. By boyhood, Azur lives in the castle, but continues to play with Azur, until his father sends him away to study and dismisses Jénane. As an adult, Azur experiences prejudice for the first time when he ends up in a North Africa village where the inhabitants view blue eyes as bad luck, so he keeps them closed and begs for his supper, like fellow Frenchman Crapoux. In the interim, Jénane and Asmar have become wealthy. With the help of the beggar, a tiny princess, and a Jewish sage, Azur competes with Asmar to free the fairy and make her his bride, but only one can prevail. French animator Michel Ocelet's follow-up to Kirikou and the Wild Beast moves slow by American standards, but the abundance of vibrant arabesque animation and absence of pop-culture wisecracks offers ample compensation. Though too complicated for some pre-schoolers, the DVD includes a British version with dubbed dialogue and subtitled French and Arabic songs. Anthony Minghella’s favorite composer, Gabriel Yared, provides the enchanting score. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
One of our favorite animated films, on a par with magical faves from Miyazaki, reminiscent of the atmosphere and wonder of Secret of Kells (another of my top faves). Read morePublished 11 days ago by Rob A.
Skip the Disney princesses and watch this amazing movie with your kids. Beautiful animation, fascinating story, a slice of life and legends from a different time and place.Published 6 months ago by Clare Seguin
Watch it before you watch with children. You're children may have questions.Published 7 months ago by Thomas Humphrey Jr.
A beautiful movie. I can't believe this isn't more well known. Certainly stylized in a way we are not used to . . . Read morePublished 7 months ago by J. de Soto
Absolutely beautiful animation. My French students were mesmerized.Published 8 months ago by Margaret Spires
Beautifully visuslly as well interesting fairytale from Mideast culture . My ten year old still sings the songPublished 9 months ago by Sondra Kalayci
Gorgeous animation. Timeless mythic heros journey with modern consciousness. Uplifting, inspiring without being didactic or dogmatic. In short. A film for all ages. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lael Belove
The item arrived in mint condition, and it plays beautifully. Thank you!Published 12 months ago by Flora Foster