The relatively new Omnibus Entertainment division of spectacular theatrical, DVD, and VOD foreign film company Film Movement hits a grand slam home run with the DVD release of the 2014 French film "Belle and Sebastian." This uber-awesome boy and his dog story, which is being released on July 7 2015, is the perfect summer family movie. It will also make every younger viewer (and many older ones) want to read the Cecile Aubry novel of the same name, which also is behind the Scottish rock band that shares the name of the film and the book.
Proof of the family-friendly nature of "Belle" extends well beyond the French version of the film having easy-to-read subtitles and Movement including an English-language version. It has a "Family-Approved" seal from the Dove Foundation and the "Common Sense Seal" from Common Sense Media. Further, director Nicolas Vanier won the "Films4Families Youth Jury Award" at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.
A limited personal endorsment from a grandfather is that his granddaughter loves anything with a big dog and a little girl.
Other proof that "Belle" is a great choice for a family movie night is the following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer. The breath-taking scenery and the beautiful score provide the adults nice bonuses.
The titular six year-old boy Sebastian is the informal ward of middle-aged sheep herder Cesar but is largely allowed to freely roam the pristinely shot mountains and valleys that surround his home in the French Alps near the Swiss border. A clever narrative technique has Belle (a.k.a. Beauty) start as "the beast," whom Cesar suspects of killing several sheep.
A meeting between the boy and his dog leads to the start of one of the most beautiful friendships ever. It further supports the theory that there are no bad dogs, only bad "parents." This taming of the shrewd further shows that Great Pyrenees dogs, such as a special friend named Sam (a.k.a. Sammy), are a wonderful breed.
The WWII-era German occupation of the village where Sebastian lives is overall benign. Relatively non-threatening harassment of local baker Angelina with whom Sebastian lives and seemingly haphazard patrols that search for resistance activity in the form of helping Jewish people and other "undesirables" escape into Switzerland are the primary extent of enemy activity in the peaceful burg.
The two cutest resistance volunteers ever join the action when a series of unfortunate circumstances requires that Belle channel her inner Rudolph. In this case, our heroinc must lead a group to safety ahead of a not-so-menacing Nazi pursuit. One particular harrowing scene will have even folks not fortunate enough to have a Great Pyrenees in his or her life fear for Belle.
General kid-friendly and mother-approved messages in this awesome tale include the importance of community, friendship, bravery, and protecting the persecuted. At the same time, the dissent even among the villagers contributes to the realistic nature of this film.
Anyone with any questions or comments regarding "Belle" is welcome to either email or connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.