10 Best French Cartoon Movies

Wednesday, April 13 by Brenda Daverin

The 10 Best French cartoon movies are no sugar-coated Disney romp. Ranging from slapstick humor to science fiction and biographical drama, French animated films are thought provokers and crowd pleasers.  

  1. "The Triplets of Belleville." Sylvain Chomet's first animated feature to gain wide attention in the United States, this Oscar-nominated French cartoon movie comes complete with plenty of laughs, tense action scenes, and a fantastic jazz soundtrack.  Not to mention shout-outs to Jacqes Tati.
  2. "Persepolis." This black-and-white cartoon movie depicts the life of its main character and author, Marjane Satrapi, as a girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution and its aftermath. Based on the graphic novel by the same name, it will haunt you with its depiction of freedoms lost and gained.
  3. "Asterix and Cleopatra." No list of French cartoon movies would be complete without the favorite film of Asterix and Obelix fans around the world. Surreal, satirical, and almost but not quite a musical, France's favorite Gauls leave Egypt staggering from their mere presence.
  4. "Light Years." First called "Gandahar," this science fiction cartoon movie may be hard to get domestically but is worth the search. The beauty of its artwork matches the power of its story of paradise threatened.
  5. "Fantastic Planet."  Rene Laloux directed this surreal depiction of humans captured by giant aliens and kept as pets when not running wild. Proof positive that cartoon movies don't have to be pretty to make a point.
  6. "Kirikou and the Sorceress." Using African folk tales and the artwork of Henri Rousseau as a base, a very special young boy saves his village from a sorceress. Youssou N'Dour composed the soundtrack, making it a feast for the ears as well as the eyes.
  7. "The Illusionist." Sylvain Chomet strikes again, this time with the first presentation of a previously unfilmed Jacques Tati script. At turns melancholy and charming, it may also be the only French cartoon movie that has dialogue in Scots Gaelic.
  8. "The Tale of the Fox." Tales of Renard the Fox are told in France's first full-length animated film. Its original booster being Nazi Germany shouldn't stop movie lovers from appreciating it, especially with its post-war soundtrack.
  9. "The King and the Mocking Bird." It took over 30 years to be completed. Its Japanese release was a runaway hit after starting in just one theater. And the best version in the US has Peter Ustinov voicing the role of the bird under the title "The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird." After all of that, the fact it's based on Hans Christian Andersen tales is almost unimportant.
  10. "Chronopolis." One of the first CGI films ever created, this French cartoon is another example of the romance between France and science fiction Immortals await the ultimate gift while staving off boredom by crafting increasingly bizarre artwork. And then it gets odd.
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