Move Over, Tintin: Here Comes...This Guy

By Luke Y. Thompson in Comics, Movies
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm


Considering how the boy detective had an uphill battle in this country even with comic-fan awareness and Steven Spielberg directing, I'm not sure what kind of chance Philemon is going to have. Nonetheless, the movie adaptation of this Franco-Belgian comic by solo-monikered author "Fred" will be directed in English and live-action by French-Canadian animators Julien Demers-Arsenault and Sébastien Denault.

From the press release:

"We will use state of the art computer animation, matte-paintings and digital compositing techniques, as well as more traditional on-camera techniques such as miniatures, costumes, special make-ups, puppets and animatronics, which will all be enhanced and optimized in post-production" explained Julien Demers-Arsenault. "We are going for a look and feel that is more organic than digital, both old-school and contemporary, as if the movie had been shot in the 70's but with today's technical means" added Sébastien Denault.

Currently, any English-language articles on Philemon are hard to come by. But Wikipedia's description is intriguing.

Philémon is a rural French teenager. His best friend is a "mature" donkey named Anatole. Philémon's mother seldom appears while his father is an upset authority figure who despairs at the "tall stories" his son tells him. Philémon's uncle Phélicien is a practitioner of pagan techniques (rebouteux: bone setter/sorcier: sorcerer).

Philémon's early adventures had him as a young local troublemaker who is attacked one day by a crocodile in the river (in the middle of a typical European countryside). This leads him to an underground circus run by a hypnotist. His next adventure had him discovering that his uncle Phélicien could make things tiny or gigantic by looking at them through a magic telescope.

The real story however began when, by accident, Philémon fell down a well and ended up on a beach. This well was a "portal" and Philémon ended up in an odd world, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland in its alterations of commonly accepted reality

There's visual potential here, for sure. Like when Philemon flies on a giant plant through what looks like the world's biggest bowl of alphabet soup.


Or rides with Don Quixote on a giant fish. Giant things are apparently a theme.

No release date is set yet for the movie, but the next Philemon book, "Le train où vont les choses," comes out February 22nd.

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