When it comes to animated films, people may naturally think of films like Disney, DreamWorks, Illumination, and so on. I am sure many of you are aware of their works. However, I would love to introduce you all to the world of animations — especially French animations. Many people assume that animations are for children, but surprisingly many animated films have mature content with significant messages. Below, I talk about eight handpicked foreign animated films I have fallen in love with.


Fantastic Planet (1973)

Fantastic Planet is a sci-fi animated film created by René Laloux in France. The story is about a conflict between a human-looking creature called Oms and blue-skinned people who are 20 times larger than Oms called Draags. Draags domesticate and oppress Oms, and they decide to rebel against them. It has influenced many modern-day sci-fi stories.



My love (2006)

This film is made by a man called Aleksandr Petrov in Russia. It is about a boy who fell in love with two women. The length of the film is less than 30 minutes. The most amazing part of My love is that it’s the first-ever film made only by oil paint on glass. Many people think that the first full oil painting film is Loving Vincent. It is simply magical to look at the impressionism style of oil paintings beautifully animated.



Funan (2018)

Funan is a French film directed by Denis Do, a Cambodian French. The story is inspired by his own mother who has been through Khmer Rogue Revolution in Cambodia in 1957. During the revolution, s mother is forcefully separated from her child, and she spends her life searching for him while surviving the sinister regime of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia. Not only the aesthetic of the film is gorgeous, but also the depiction of the characters is executed extremely precisely. Many people in the US are not aware of the tragedy of Khmer Rouge and this film is worth watching to educate yourself on this.



Persepolis (2007)

Persepolis was based on a visual novel by Marjane Satrapi, and the animated film is also directed by Satrapi. The story is non-fictional and drawn from her own experience during war and revolution in Iran during the 1970s. The contrast of comical cartoon style and a heavy theme about a girl who grew up in the Islamic revolution is nothing but a unique and intriguing film experience for everyon



Breadwinner (2017)

Breadwinner is created by a studio called Cartoon Saloon in Ireland. It’s based on a book with the same title, and it has a similar theme as Swallow of Kabul and Persepolis. Breadwinner is about a girl in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy in order to get food for her family after her father’s arrest by members of the Taliban. The art of the film is very cartoony and cute. However, the reality of being a girl in a country under the control of the Taliban is painful to see yet something we cannot look away from.



Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)

The film is direct by Michel Ocelot, who is a French animation filmmaker who grew up in Guinea during his childhood, and many of his films are inspired by African folktales and traditions. The story is about a boy called Kirikou is born in a small village in Africa, and travels to see a sorceress who causes problems in the village to defeat her. The art style of this film is very interesting due to its use of vivid colors and flat 2D art like traditional African paintings. This film is for all ages including kids, yet I decided to add on this list due to the aesthetic of the film.



Tales of the Night (2011)

The film is directed by the same director as Kirikous and the Sorceress. However, the director took a little different style for this time. The film is consists of 6 short stories from all over the world. The vivid use of the colors still exists in this film, yet the fascinating part is that all the characters, props, and buildings are all silhouettes. Only patterns and colors are geometric backgrounds. It might be something you have never seen in a featured animated film, it also might sound insufficient to create a full movie only with silhouettes. However, Michel Ocelot successfully created this magical film and it is a must-see once in your life.



The tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)

Many of you probably have heard of Studio Ghibli from Japan. Hayao Miyazaki is a very well known animation filmmaker, but not lots of people know a man called Isao Takahata- who created Ghibli Studio with him. The tale of Princess Kaguya is Isao Takahata’s last directed film before he passes away. The story of the film is based on the old story from Japan about a little nymph who was found in a bamboo woods by an old man who grew up a beautiful woman. She is approached by many nobles to marry them, but she keeps refusing to do so by giving them impossible tasks to complete. Unlikely normal Ghibli films, the art style of the film is very distinct from others. While it’s made digitally, the pursue the style of old Asian paper and ink that reflects the time where the story took place. The soft and desaturated water color like style is simply comfortable on your eyes and reminds of you minimalistic ancient Asian arts.

Those are 8 animated films I truly enjoy watching. Perhaps you know some of the films from the list. What is your favorite animated film? I hope you enjoyed the list and get to watch all of them in your lifetime because they are absolutely stunning pieces!


By Luna Yae

To see Luna’s own artwork and animations, please visit lunacharlotteyae.com.


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