Sony Pictures Classics is officially keeping itself in the Sylvain Chomet business, with Variety reporting today that the studio has acquired the international rights to The Magnificent Life Of Marcel Pagnol, the latest animated film from the beloved Triplets Of Belleville creator.
SPC previously distributed both of Chomet’s earlier animated films, 2003's Triplets (Oscar-nominated) and 2010's The Illusionist (also Oscar-nommed), both of which dealt, with beautiful animation, with a mournful reckoning with the art and styles of the past. Thus, it’s not entirely surprising that Chomet’s latest animated feature—which follows the live-action Attila Marcel, and also, somewhat bizarrely, The Simpsons, in his personal filmography—will center on Pagnol, a polymathic French playwright novelist, and filmmaker who died in 1974.
In announcing the buy, Sony referred to Marcel Pagnol as the conclusion of a “trilogy” of animated films from Chomet; although there are no explicit connections between any of the filmmaker’s movies, they all tend to focus on themes of melancholy and a desire to connect with the young. (They’re also linked by being some of the most exquisitely gorgeous animation in recent memory.)
From the press statement:
Sylvain Chomet is one of the great masters of animation in the world. It is a pleasure and privilege to be back in business with Sylvain and to expand Sylvain’s audience wider than ever
In an earlier interview with Variety, Chomet spoke to why he was choosing Pagnol as the subject for his “modern fable,” noting that he was “deeply inspired by Pagnol’s deep humanism, audacity and authenticity, and also drawn to the idea of telling the fabulous success story of this artist with a rich historical backdrop depicting the upheavals of the 20th century, notably the rise of fascism in Europe and World War II.”
Production on The Magnificent Life Of Marcel Pagnol is currently underway; the film is expected to arrive in theaters some time in 2024.