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By Kate Smith
29th June 2014

Based on a French TV series, which itself was based on the much-loved 1965 children’s book, ‘Belle & Sebastian’ is a sweet story of the love between a boy and his dog.

Six-year-old Sebastian (Félix Bossuet) lives with his adopted grandfather César (Tchéky Karyo) and helps him tend to his goats and cattle. He’s left to his own devices, roaming the countryside, which he knows well. When Sebastian encounters Belle, escaped from her cruel master, they form a deep and lasting bond. But complications arise when the villagers believe Belle to be a sheep-killer, and then again when refugees escaping Nazi Germany need help crossing the mountains.


The first thing that strikes you as you watch this film is the absolutely stunning scenery. Shots of fields of mountain wildflowers and jagged snow covered peaks took my breath away.

The second thing is the acting chops displayed by the cast: Tchéky Karyo is a veteran of blockbusters and arthouse films alike, and turns in a solid performance as César; but it’s Félix Bossuet who steals the show. His little face is expressive and convincing, and he doesn’t miss a beat. Not once does his performance seem forced or amateurish.

The score is lovely, suiting the spectacular scenery perfectly, while the editing is invisible. There’s nothing jerky about this film – it’s a polished work. My only disappointment is that as it’s entirely in French, the target Australian audience are those who have the attention spans to read the subtitles, which misses out the kids who would really enjoy this film. On the other hand, I think dubbing it for English audiences would be a mistake.

Shots of fields of mountain wildflowers and jagged snow covered peaks took my breath away.

I have to give kudos to the animal handlers – the dogs playing Belle were spot on. I fell in love with the big fluffy white "beast". Without spoiling it for you, it’s an unusual story in that it doesn’t end where you think it will. There’s a happy, almost triumphant ending, which feels more like a beginning.

‘Belle & Sebastian’ is well worth seeing on the big screen for the gorgeous scenery, and particularly if you have kids old enough to handle subtitles.

RELEASE DATE: 03/07/2014
RUN TIME: 1h 44m
CAST: Félix Bossuet
Tchéky Karyo
Margaux Châtelier
Dimitri Storoge
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Vanier
WRITERS: Juliette Sales
Fabien Suarez
Nicolas Vanier
PRODUCERS: Clémént Miserez
Frédéric Brillion
SCORE: Armand Amar
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