News  ·  03 | 08 | 2023

Nina et le secret du hérisson

A film that shows how animation is an art form capable of tackling difficult and burning social issues.

Animated cinema is not only entertainment and lightness. This art form is also capable of tackling difficult and burning social issues. Among the titles in the Locarno Kids section, a popular festival event, the French-Luxembourg film Nina et le secret du hérisson stands out in this respect. The themes addressed by the film are those of job loss and the economy's lack of social responsibility. The film by filmmakers Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, already Oscar nominees with their beautiful A Cat in Paris (2010), tells the story of Nina, a French working-class child forced to grow up earlier than expected due to the closure of the factory where her father works. The latter, a kind-hearted factory worker, falls into a deep depression that leads him to lose his ability to tell compelling stories to his daughter. One of these stories, marked by a visual style that harks back to animated films of the past, features the hedgehog that gives the film its title. Nina then goes into action. The child, aided by a peer, embarks on an adventurous deed to restore justice and help her father regain his courage. The factory actually closed down because its director embezzled company money and Nina now wants to find the loot. France is the country where the social and economic crisis has hit the weakest strata of society in recent decades. The recent riots in the cross-border suburbs are the clearest proof of this. This film, with a style and optimism suitable for children, takes this same crisis head-on and turns it into a narrative opportunity. The artistic collaboration between Gagnol, writer and screenwriter, and Felicioli, visual artist, once again proves successful and delivers us a little gem of animated cinema.

Mattia Lento