A SECOND LOOK: The Little Prince

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The French film “The Little Prince” was first released in 2015. It became available to American audiences on August 5th, 2016 through Netflix streaming, with English voices and subtitles (Picture courtesy of Le Cercie Noir).

By Jessica Bao (’18)

There is no doubt that The Little Prince, a 1943 novella by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a classic. While it is considered as a children’s book, high schoolers across generations have loved its whimsical voice and imaginative plot. As IAC’s French teacher Mme. Merchant explains it, high school is a time when you meet different kinds of people, and The Little Prince provides insight on how to build true relationships with those around you.

I decided to watch the film adaptation of this acclaimed tale to see if the story would live up to the adoration. The film employs both stop-motion and computer animation. 3-D clay figures tell Saint-Exupéry’s story and build a separate world, where the young protagonist, known simply as the Little Girl, lives.

If I were younger, I would have immediately recognized the sleek and monochromatic reality in the film as the opposite of attractive. But I am a junior at IA. Faced with the IB, SAT, ACT, and a million other acronyms, the organized life of the Little Girl actually appealed to me. Every hour of every day was mapped out, and I could see nothing wrong with that. So like other IA students who enjoy understanding things instantly, I became discouraged, as if I failed the film before it even started.

But that is the point of The Little Prince. The film is separated into two plotlines: one of the Little Prince, and one of the Aviator telling that story to the Little Girl. With the latter, the film did exactly what the adaptation of a classic tale should do: it altered its message for teenagers. At first, the Little Girl didn’t get the story of the Little Prince. Yet, as her interactions with the Aviator gradually led her to realize what the story was trying to say, it did the same to us viewers.

It is okay that as we grow up, we become more goal-oriented and round-edged. It is okay that we dress in black because it is slimming, and white because it looks sophisticated. What’s more important, though, is that we remember what colors can do. What emotions can do. As long as we inject a little bit of heart, and — dare I be so cliche — love into our actions, even if we live in the real world, we are going to be just fine. Films like The Little Prince take an age-old story and remind us to remember, to have the courage to create something as beautiful and fantastical as the film itself.

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