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Dragon Princess - Film Review (Children's International Film Festival 2023)

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Parental Guidance: Supernatural themes and fantasy violence
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Images Ankama & CHIFF 2023

Dragon Princess is part of The Children's Film Festival (CHIFF) which screens in Melbourne and Sydney from 27 May to 12 June 2023. Explore the full program here.

Dragon Princess screens in French with English subtitles. and runs for 74 mins. Directed by Jean-Jacques Denis and Anthony Roux, the film follows Bristle who is born to a dragon but resembles a human girl, unlike her two brothers Zephyr and Rock. The Sorcerog played a hand in the birth of all three and it comes at a price.

Looking like a human, her father the dragon who hates humans is not immediately drawn to Bristle. Taught to fear and mistrust humans, Bristle ventures out into the forest on her own and comes upon a human girl who happens to be a Princess. They end up befriending each other while discovering each other's differences. Princess talks too much according to Bristle and Bristle can communicate with animals through her mind, rendering words falling from her lips unnecessary. Bristle follows Princess back to the castle where she discovers what it's like to live like a human. Not all sits well with her when she discovers animals are being hunted for trophies. Learning she is the daughter of a dragon, the King who is Princess' father heads to the forest to wage war on Bristle's father the dragon, for all his gold.

A gentle animation of French origin, the story reveals its layers and complexity and draws you in as it unfolds. It's not just a story of the meaning of friendship between two very different young girls, but also touches on prejudice, greed, and the nature of man to destroy. For a kid's movie, the subject matters reflected in the film are quite mature, and themes like gender equality are bound to fly right over the little heads. However, it does not stick out like a preachy sore thumb that the kids can't enjoy the innocence of the movie, but prominent enough for adults to enjoy a deeper layering of the story that has so much more than expressed here, so there are no spoilers. The animation is kept simple in this charming little film everyone can enjoy watching.

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Why? Dragon Princess - Review; at Children's International Film Festival (CHIFF) 2023
When: 27 May to 12 June 2023
Where: Melbourne and Sydney
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