Tout en Haut du Monde (Long Way North)
Long Way North (originally titled Tout en Haut du Monde) is a beautifully animated film that resembles a painting brought to life. Sasha, a 15-year-old girl from St Petersburg, embarks on a wonderful journey filled with a variety of trials and tribulations. Hitherto sheltered in an aristocratic existence, Sasha’s dream of finding her lost grandfather sparks a fire and she runs away from home, vowing to find him and restore honour to her family. The film recalls in some ways Disney’s Mulan; the effect is different, but both central young, female characters share the courageous trait. Although Long Way North isn’t completely original, it remains nonetheless enjoyable.
This French and Danish collaboration showcases the advantages of animation over live-action film. The hand-drawn quality adds to the tone of the production with a sense of magic that has arguably been lost in the industry. The use of shadow and light is also intriguing, and works well as a vehicle for the narrative.
The tale takes the audience through many different locations, beginning with Russia and ending somewhere in the North Pole. Throughout this journey, always eager to find the truth about her grandfather, Sasha learns things that she would have never gotten the chance to back at home: how to work and how to fend for herself. It’s a heart-warming story about finding the truth, and realising that sometimes the truth isn’t what you want to hear. Unlike a Disney film, Long Way North doesn’t rely on the happy ending, instead it illustrates the yearning need to follow one’s desires despite obstacles in the way. With Sasha, the audience becomes emotionally attached to the story until her failures become our own, and when she succeeds, we feel her triumph.
Tout end Haut du Monde (Long Way North) is released in selected cinemas on 17th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for Tout en Haut du Monde (Long Way North) here: