Paul Grimault’s THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD, written by Grimault and legendary poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert, will be released by Rialto Pictures in a new restoration from Studiocanal, following its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival in October. Theatrical release is slated for Friday, November 21, when it will open at Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, followed by a Los Angeles (Laemmle Theatres , December 19) and national rollout.
Based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, the wildly satirical THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD follows a chimney sweep and shepherdess on the run from a tyrannical king. A masterpiece of traditional hand-drawn cell animation, THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD is credited by celebrated Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as inspiring the creation of their own studio, the now world-famous Studio Ghibli. Its influence can also be felt in such films as Brad Bird’s THE IRON GIANT.
Grimault and Prévert (Children of Paradise, Port of Shadows, Le Jour se Lève) started work on MOCKINGBIRD in 1947, when it was planned to be France’s first animated feature. A dispute stopped production, however, and it was released unfinished by its producer, without Grimault and Prévert’s permission. Grimault spent 10 years getting the rights back and another 20 raising the money to finish the film as he and Prévert had envisaged it. It was finally finished and released in 1979, a few weeks after Prévert’s death. Though it has been a favorite of French audiences for 35 years, it has long been unavailable in the U.S. due to rights issues.
OPENING THEATRICALLY IN NYC November 21 with Los Angeles (December 19) and national roll out to follow.