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The Princes' Quest

Still image from The Princes Quest, showing Crapoux riding on the shoulders of Prince Azur. They are in a desert landscape and there are 2 figures in silhouette, under a sunshade - a man and a woman. Still image from The Princes Quest, a long-shot, showing Crapoux riding on the shoulders of Prince Azur, through a dense forest of tall palm trees. Still image from The Princes Quest, showing a close-up of a pair of hands, offering a table full of sweets, cakes and other food. Still image from The Princes Quest, showing Crapoux stepping down from the shoulders of Prince Azur. They are in front of a huge decorated gateway, with 14 armed guards stood outside.

Stories from Other Cultures

The story of The Princes’ Quest begins in France and then moves to North Africa where the architecture, plants and culture are very different. Azur pretends to be blind however and keeps his eyes closed so people don’t see his ‘cursed’ blue eyes. Crapoux rides on his shoulders through the land but he is not very honest when Azur asks him to describe the surroundings. Crapoux makes the environment sound ugly and bare when it is far from it!

Activities for pupils

  • Azur needs to be told the truth about his surroundings! Look at the different images above, and discuss the colours, shapes and patterns.
  • Choose an image and write a letter to Azur describing what you can see. Try to use a combination of literal and figurative language. Think about nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. Try to include some similes, metaphors or personification.
  • Alternatively, write a letter or diary entry from Azur’s point of view describing the plants, buildings, costumes and food he experiences in this different culture.

Some characters in The Princes’ Quest speak more than one language. Azur cannot speak Arabic as well as some characters and he feels lost and alone when he struggles to communicate with people. The director decided not to provide subtitles when characters speak Arabic, so even audiences cannot always tell what is being said exactly. What effect do you think this might have on the audience?

Activities for pupilsFurther Activities for pupils

  • In an interview about the making of The Princes’ Quest, Michel Ocelot said:

‘I considered the obstacle of languages, because I wanted to show the condition of the immigrant for whom the language barrier is a major difficulty. So, in certain passages, I do not try to make people (the audience) understand so that they feel a little lost.’

Can you imagine what it would be like to be unable to understand the people around you? Discuss Azur’s thoughts and feelings after his first day in this strange new land. Write an entry for that day in Azur’s diary.