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La Fontaine DVDs


2005 Fables de La Fontaine. Mise en scène, décors et lumières de Robert Wilson. Un film de Don Kent. Un spectacle de la Comedie-Française. €20 from, June, '11. 

This is a strong dramatic work! I enjoyed it start to finish. There is good variety here, and so we touch on the folly of love, the disdain of art, and the power of flattery, for one of the strongest scenes in the nineteen fables presented is the interaction of fox and crow. The masks are haunting and the movements engaging. La Fontaine is the introducer and narrator, though various animals will also function as narrators in specific scenes. Wilson and La Fontaine save their strongest punches here, I believe, for people and especially for power. Among the strongest indictment fables are "The Obsequies of the Lioness" in which a stag tells some truth to power but then saves his life by flattering the lion king and "The Man and the Serpent," in which the human being ends up choking on his own guilt. Also strong are the finishes to WL, where La Fontaine looks away from the final slaughter, and "The Stag in the Water." The very last fable is "The Companions of Ulysses": Why did these animals prefer now to stay animals? The work is close to the blood and the animal instinct behind La Fontaine's lovely work. Unfortunately my copy has only French; there is an add-on from behind the scenes of the production, with interviews. A real treat! See the booklet included with this dvd and the separate artistic book published a year earlier.

 2008   Ngu Ngon La Fontaine.  DVD presentation of 26 fables of La Fontaine in Vietnamese cartoons.  $1.99 from Dvany or, Golden Grove, CA, on Ebay, Oct., '07.

There seem to be two portions to each fable here: a short narration of the story, including a visual circle, like a lens, in which the fable is told.  There follows then a more elaborate song, in which the fable may be more perceptively portrayed.  Overall, an angelic female descends to teach the lesson in each fable.  Surprisingly, occasional overlays advertise a phone number.  The trademark throughout seems to be "The He Tre."  It is hard to feel scammed for $1.99!


 2012 le vieil homme & les fables.  France télévisions – amopix.  Conception graphique Mathieu Rolin.  Droits graphiques Jean Bastian Éditions Majb.  €20 at Majb Antiques, Strasbourg, July, '19.

Here are some 21 brief and very creative presentations of La Fontaine's fables.  The disc which they make up is a favorite of mine!  The premise is that Jean Bastian, who did indeed produce a book of La Fontaine's fables, is drawing at his desk.  As he works on the coloring of each fable's illustration, the fable takes life in his atelier.  There are great touches of imagination here, as when MM finishes with a cracked pot and puddle in the middle of Jean's rug, or when a small statue falls at the end of 2P as is smashed in the floor, or when finally FG ends with grapes growing around Jean's atelier!  Those wanting a first sample of these short videos might do well to watch WL.  I am so happy that I noticed the book in this antique store's window.  I returned later when they were open and had a chat with the grandson (?) of Jean Bastian, former owner of the store.  I bought Jean's book – which I cannot find right now! – and the DVD.