From our continental correspondent – BD to the Big Screen

Published On February 22, 2017 | By Wim | Comics, Continental Correspondent, Film TV & Theatre

Earlier this month David Moreau’s Seuls was released in cinemas across France and Belgium. The film, based on the acclaimed young adult comic series of the same name by Fabien Vehlmann and Bruno Gazotti, tells the story of a group of children who one morning find themselves in a world without adults. They learn that they need to stick together in order to survive, but also that other children may react differently to the events. In my opinion this is one of the best general audience comics to come out of France and Belgium in recent years, and it deserves a much wider audience (I told you so before). It combines adventure and quite spectacular action with some very creepy horror, and at the same time puts the focus on the different characters, how they react to one another, how they evolve and learn to adapt. The trailer at least shows quite a faithful adaptation, and if you want more, six of the books have already been published in English by Cinebook.

Seuls is only the first of a slew of films based on bandes dessinées that are currently slated for release or at least in production. In April we are treated to The Lost Village, the third Smurfs film, directed by Kelly Asbury, and quite a reboot from the previous ones. Instead of the “photorealistic” animation that was used before, this time the style is more traditional, and rather befitting the visual sugar attack that the trailer suggests.

And then, of course, in june, there’s the long-awaited Valérian Et La Cité Des Mille Planètes (Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets), Luc Besson’s take on Christin and Mézières’ classic space opera (again published in English by Cinebook), which in more way than one was at least part of the inspiration behind a bunch of science fiction films, not in the least the original Star Wars and Besson’s own Fifth Element.  And quite befitting an event of such grandeur, the trailer is accompanied by a Beatles track. A remixed Beatles track, but still.

No less than three films are currently in various stages of production that are based on characters created or at least made popular by the great André Franquin. First, in the fall of 2017, there’s Le Petit Spirou, on the younger years of the most famous bellboy in the world, his bellboy family and the love of his life. Then, in early 2018, there’s the quite unexpected movie version of Gaston Lagaffe, probably the most inept office help ever. Not much is known about this film (will it be set in its original timeframe, the late 50s, early 60s, and will it be more than a series of slapstick gags?) except that the title role will be played by Théo Fernandez, while his love interest, M’oiselle Jeanne, will be played by Alison Wheeler (not the one of the Beautiful South). It’s not the first time Gaston’s gaffes are transferred to the big screen, though: in 1981, the unlicenced Fais Gaffe A La Gaffe was released, with its protagonist named “G”…

Finally the big summer movie of 2018 (in France at least) is supposed to be Les Aventures de Spirou Et Fantasio, which will document how the two best friends ever meet (and meet Spip, their faithful but opinionated squirrel) but also how they take up the fight against their perennial nemesis, Zorglub, who has kidnapped their friend, the Count. Unless you’ve been reading the odd English translation of the Spirou books, you’ll have to take my word for it: this is all very exciting.

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