AZUR AND ASMAR – THE PRINCES’ QUEST
Director Michel Ocelet 2006 1hr 39mins French with English subtitles
Azur and Amar is a 2006 French animated fairytale fantasy film written and directed by Michel Ocelot and animated at the Paris animation and visual effects studio Mac Guff Ligne. It is Ocelot’s fourth feature, though his first wholly original creation since Kirikou and the Sorceress, and his first use of 3D computer graphics.
Like most of his films it is an original fairy tale, in this case inspired by the folklore (including, but not limited to, the One Thousand and One Nights) and decorative art of North Africa and the Middle East.Ocelet does not translate the Arabic, he wants the viewer to feel the same sense of dislocation and strangeness of being a stranger in a strange land.
The story begins with two children being nursed by Jénane: Azur, a blond, blue-eyed son of a nobleman, and Asmar, the tan skinned and dark-eyed child of the Jenane. The nurse tells them the story of the Djinn-fairy waiting to be released from her chamber by a good and heroic prince. Brought up together they are as close as brothers until the day Azur’s father cruelly separates them, banishing the nurse and Asmar from his home and sending Azur away to the city to receive schooling from a personal tutor.
Years later, Azur is haunted by memories of the legendary Djinn-fairy, and takes it upon himself to journey all the way to Asmar’s homeland to seek it out. Now reunited, he finds that Jénane has since become a successful merchant, while Asmar is now a member of the Royal Guard. However, Asmar also longs to find the Djinn-fairy, and only one of the two youths can be successful in their quest.