In a new animated film by Jean-Francois Laguionie, Le Tableau (The Painting), a society of people lives in segregation. The fully-drawn characters enjoy a life of wealth and luxury, celebrating their beauty on the steps of a lavish castle. While the half-drawn characters and raw sketches are cast out as less than average citizens in this fantastical world. The reality of the film becomes a symbol of inequality. The fully-drawn characters have fully developed features, appear smarter, and wear fabulous clothing with bright, bold colors. They look down on the less developed characters that live in the woods like poor serfs. The community lives within a painting. The fully-drawn characters speak of a mysterious painter as a god-like figure, who intentionally drew them to perfection while abandoning the incomplete figures, deeming them as unworthy of his talents.
The film neglects to resolve the issue of discrimination and turns toward fantasy and adventure as three characters leave in search of the illusive painter. The three heroes explore a new world outside the painting, the artist’s studio, filled with other paintings with new characters that come to life. A nude woman reclines in a chair who dreams of rekindling her love with the painter. A self-portrait of the artist complains that he just wants to be himself. The film stands out as a stunning achievement of originality as the process of creation comes to life in this delightful animated tale.