“Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux” – a spectacular homage to Hayao Miyazaki

“A young boy who lives in a village on a giant tree, falls in the depths of the forest. There he meets two strange natives who will help him go back home.”

“Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux” or “Girls and Guys from Summits and Skies” begins with such an intriguing synopsis. It’s a trailer for an animation film, done as a student project by Gwenn Germain at the French art school Créapole. Before looking at his cited inspirations, it’s not hard to see who Gwenn is paying tribute too. That wonderful combination of soulful background and dynamic characters, that charming score by Joe Hisaishi, those costumes and flying vehicles of “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”, those strange creatures of darkness of “Howl’s Moving Castle” – all these allusions to the masterpieces by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki not only warm Ghibli‘s fans’ hearts, but also show Gwenn’s talents in relaunching classic moments.

Here and there the character animation could be smoother and the facial expressions could be more subtle. But to be able to achieve these two and a half minutes of splendor within 5 months is already a big feat. Really promising. Gwenn’s trailer starts as an homage, but has the potential to go all the way to a full feature.

Another two cents: “Tobie Lolness” was my first thought upon the first sight of the first scene of “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux”. Maybe Gwenn doesn’t know, but his story bears striking similarities to the children’s novel “Tobie Lolness” by French author Timothée de Fombelle. They both feature a young hero living in a giant tree, who then fell to the land below and gained new friends from a different race. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy the vigorous visual Gwenn brought to the table and can’t wait to see more from him.

Character design & poster for “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux”:

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