© Unedited image by Lerche2 via wikimedia commons used under Creative Commons International Public License.
My first encounter with Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s adorable and much-loved novella came during my French A levels. Swiftly realising the real academic advantages and, most importantly, the literary bliss of picking up this French classic, I quickly had to come to terms with the cave my head had been stuck in for so long.
Le Petit Prince has got to be, hands down, my favourite book of all time. Yes, technically this is a ‘children’s book’ and there are lovely little illustrations throughout, but anyone who has the joy of reading it will realise that this is essentially a grown-up book and philosophy in every sense of the word.
On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel c’est invisible pour les yeux
One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Drawing from experiences in Saint-Exupéry’s own eventful life, The Little Prince begins with a human pilot crash-landed in the desert. Curling up for his first cold night alone he is awoken by a strange little figure with bright blond hair, asking him to draw a picture of a sheep. Indulging in the strange boy’s request, the pilot is, in return, transported by the little prince’s own far-out tale of his journey across the universe, meeting strange adults along the way who allow him a telling glimpse into their bizarre ways. From his love for a vulnerable yet vain rose to a strange encounter with a mysterious fox, the prince’s story is full to the brim with wonderful philosophical ponderings and is universal in its heartwarming message to readers of all ages.
Given my love affair (that I’m positive so many other people around the globe have had – this is, after all, one of the best-selling, most translated books of all time) with this little gem, how do we all a feel about the new film? I for one am apprehensive:
As the trailer reminds us, this is one of the bookish world’s most beloved of stories, and what better way to introduce it to everyone else than through a beautifully produced animated film? Isn’t this supposed to be for children after all? I must confess the music does make me feel a little shivery and fuzzy inside…
I always feel a little sore about films messing with my beloved books – although I do realise I need to get over myself on that front. I suppose I rather wish this one hadn’t kept ‘The Little Prince’ title, which is fairly misleading as the little girl/old man framework isn’t present in the book at all. Would it be melodramatic to say that it almost feels sacrilegious to bring a book that holds so much meaning for so many people and is so special and subtle in its own way to the big screen? I suppose it does.
That said, I suppose I will inevitably be toddling along to see this at some point, despite my better judgment. It looks fabulously produced and, at the end of the day, if the theatre crew can enjoy a slice of the magic, then why not the film folk as well?