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Western Animation / The Painting

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"The Painter is going to come back. And if he doesn't, I'll go to the ends of the Earth to find him. He'll finish the painting."

The Painting (Le Tableau) is a 2011 French film, directed by Jean-François Laguionie. It incorporates both animation and live action.

The film begins in an unfinished painting where there are three classes: the Alldunns, the completed characters; the Halfies, the partially colored-in ones, and the Sketchies, who are little more than, well, sketches. With tensions growing among the groups, Ramo, Lola and Plume travel to beyond the borders of the painting, in search of the mysterious painter, who had abandoned them long ago.

This work includes examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: Lola's story ends on this note. Compared to everyone else in the titular painting who find contentment in being completed at last or repainting themselves, she meets the actual painter and converses with him about art. The film ends with her walking off to the great unknown, as she's decided to explore the world to further understand the nature of life.
  • As You Know: The Great Candlestick's speech to the Alldunns gives exposition about the Fantastic Caste System and how Alldunns look down upon the unfinished Halfies and Sketchies.
  • Book Ends: Simply, the movie begins and ends with a pan in and pan out through a picture frame, respectively.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Lola narrates the beginning of the story to the audience.
  • Covers Always Lie: For whatever reason, the American release of the dvd features a few minor characters who don't even have names. Seen here.
  • Crossing the Desert: Areas of the painting that are unfinished gradually change from forest to a desert plagued with a perpetual sandstorm. The trio can only hope to exit the painting by crossing the desert area first.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: The Forest is a wild place where the Sketchies must hide so they aren't caught by the Alldunns. Also, there's a section of the Forest full of supposedly man-eating flowers.
  • Dream Within a Dream: It is implied at the end that the "real" world is itself just another painting.
  • Easily Forgiven: After all this time chasing the Sketchies and forcing the Halfies to live outside, both factions don't hesitate to bask happily in the company of the Alldunns once the latter admire and accept their new painted selves.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Alldunns are fully painted and the elite, the Halfies partially painted (no matter how close to complete) and are essentially the poor, and the Sketchies basically sketches and are reviled by everyone else.
  • Fat Bastard: The Great Candlestick actively motivates the Alldunns to persecute the Sketchies to keep himself in power, and has the portly figure to match.
  • Food Fight: It's not with food, but a fight like this breaks out with paint instead.
  • Forever War: In Magenta's painting, the soldiers can't even comprehend the idea of peace. They have no idea what they're fighting over, either.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Quill is the Cynic, Lola is the Optimist, Ramo is the Realist, Magenta is the Apathic and Claire is the Conflicted.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Lola is sanguine, Ramo is choleric, Quill is melancholic, and Magenta is phlegmatic.
  • Glass Cannon: All it takes to defeat the scythe-wielding Grim Reaper is to shove him.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The self-portrait of the Painter. He softens up some when he starts teaching the group how to paint.
  • I Am What I Am: Lola mentions at the beginning of the movie that she does mind not being completely painted in. When someone asks her why she's still not completely painted in, Lola doesn't answer, and the blank spot on her is still there at the end of the movie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Quill. He may be pessimistic, cynical, and distrustful towards Lola and Ramo, but deep down, he's a good person.
  • Kick the Dog: A variation of this. When the Alldunns catch Gum at their party, they proceed to kick him to death rather than merely chase him away.
  • Knight Templar: The Great Candlestick is perfectly fine with the way things are in the painting. The fact that he gets to be in charge of, well, everything might have something to do with it.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Great Candlestick is dressed in the lightest colors out of everyone, but is an antagonist.
    • Also, the Grim Reaper in the Venice painting is garbed in white.
  • Living Drawing: The film is set in the world inside an artist's unfinished painting and features the characters traveling through several other works of art on a quest to get their creator to finish his work.
  • Made of Plasticine: Sketchies seem to be this. Gum is beaten to death by nothing more than some nobles kicking him and Quill risks being blown away just by the wind when the group heads to the edge of the painting. These problems disappear when they're painted in.
  • Medium Blending: The film is 3D animation (made to look like hand-drawn animation) mixed with live-action.
  • Past-Life Memories: Claire's dreams, alongside the fact that her face is in the Painter's sketchbook, imply that she was based on the Painter's lover.
  • Portal Picture: Characters are able to enter and exit the painter's various works, with differing degrees of difficulty.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Claire has long black hair and a pale face, but only because her face hasn't been painted in (though the rest of her skin is) and she isn't considered beautiful. When Ramo paints her face later, there's considerably more color.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Leaving a painting takes one to the real world. Perhaps.
  • Saving the World With Art: The whole story takes place in a painting full of living painted people. Painting incomplete things and people is what eventually saves their whole society.
  • Secret Relationship: Ramo and Claire are in love, but since he's a Alldunn and she's a Halfie, they try to meet in secret. They're apparently really bad at it, though, since everyone knows, which is soon Played for Drama.
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: When all of the Halfies and Sketchies (except Lola) get fully painted, presumably no one would have a problem with Ramo and Claire being together anymore.
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: The Sketchies may have a human shape, but because they aren't painted or even completed, the Alldunns hunt them down as though they were animals. They even kick Gum to death on the basis that he sneaked into their party uninvited.

Alternative Title(s): Le Tableau