My Life As a Zucchini

70 minutes 2016

Zucchini, a lonely and fatherless boy, accidentally kills his drunken mother and lands in an orphanage, where he's accepted into a little clique of abused and abandoned kids. Adapted from a novel by Gilles Paris, this French puppet animation feels magical but takes place in the real world, where children can be damaged beyond repair. The kids' loyalty toward each other springs directly from their shared suffering: Bea's mother was deported to Africa, Ahmed's father held up a gas station, Jujube's mother lost her mind, and Alice's father, as one boy explains, did "creepy things to her, disgusting stuff." The movie can be funny and heartbreaking at once—Zucchini's only keepsake of his mother is an empty beer can—though in the end what registers most is the children's resilience when "there's nobody left to love us." Claude Barras directed. In French with subtitles.

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