Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Berlinale Film Review: 'Lotte and the Moonstone Secret'

"Lotte and the Moonstone Secret" (Photo courtesy of the Berlinale)
Shining a spotlight -- or perhaps a moonbeam -- on the joy and wonder that come from traveling and exploring, "Lotte and the Moonstone Secret" (or "Lotte ja kuukivi saldus" in its original Estonian title) was perhaps the best note to end on here at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.

Directed by Janno Poldma and Heiki Ernits, the animated film follows little girl dog Lotte and her adventures with her explorer-friendly Uncle Klaus as they go in search of three mysterious stones. It just so happens that they're not the only ones in search of the stones. Two little rabbit creatures need them for something very important themselves.

Along the way, Uncle Klaus tells Lotte important lessons about traveling -- the main one being, you just have to believe. Believe that obstacles can be overcome. Believe that you will find what you're looking for.

Although the film played in its original Estonian (with a German translator speaking over a microphone) and English subtitles, CC was riveted. Of course it helped that I whispered some of the dialogue in her ear throughout the movie.

The story was sweet, and it always helps to have a femme character at the center of the action for my little girl wonder. But "Lotte" encouraged not only exploration but also kindness, friendship, curiosity and learning about other kinds of people. Well, in this case, three-eared rabbits.

The animation was beautiful -- and often a little mesmerizing. While some of it was simple, such as the characters themselves, details like fire, rain and leaves were startlingly realistic.

Of course, it was CC's favorite film. Here's hoping it makes its way to the U.S.

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