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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Kirikou interdit aux moins de sept ans

by Damien Roustel

Kirikou Not for Children Under Seven

Translated Tuesday 22 May 2007, by Jonathan Pierrel

Who is afraid of Kirikou? Kirikou is the main character of Kirikou and the Sorceress and Kirikou and the Wild Beasts, two cartoons which have proved a tremendous success with more than three million people. This little African child has recently stirred up controversy.

The video game, which was adapted from the second film, has been banned for people under seven. This, to the great displeasure of the film’s creators, and of Michel Ocelot, author and director of the two cartoons.

Experts decided to give the certificate ‘7+’ to the game, arguing that it contained "images or sounds likely to scare young children", reports Ouat Entertainment, the producer of the game. "What would the Little Red Riding Hood become without her fear of the wolf? Snow White without the witch? Pinocchio without Stromboli the puppeteer? Would it be possible to conceive cartoons by Disney or Dreamworks banned for children under seven because they are scary?" protests this company.

To Didier Brunner, producer of the two Kirikou films, those are not the real reasons. "As a producer, I think that if the naked child, the black child worries our societies so much it is because of his nudity, and that is a different debate, a fear other than that evoked by our experts", he says.

Michel Ocelot, Kirikou’s creator, reminds us that the nudity of his characters was already controversial in English-speaking countries. "The willy of the hero shocked them, but infinitely less than the breasts of the women of the village," he explains. Could Anglo-American puritanism be making itself at home in France?

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