Surealism Meets Musical In Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart

by Tito W. James

Jack is a boy born on the coldest day of the year–a day so cold that his heart froze solid and had to be replaced with a cuckoo-clock. Jack is instructed by his adoptive mother to keep his clock tightly wound, never to lose his temper, and most importantly never to fall in love. If jack breaks these rules his cuckoo-clock heart will stop ticking and he will die.

This is the absurd fairy tale premise behind Jack And The Coo-Coo-Clock Heart, a French animated film that’s currently streaming on Netflix. The movie has the esthetics of Tim Burton mixed with Salvador Dali on top of a psychedelic story akin to The Yellow Submarine.

The true star of the movie is its bizarre and haunting music. No two musical numbers are alike and the musical genre shifts per character.

The film utilizes surrealism and magical realism with characters moving and transforming in accordance with their emotions. The love interest grows thorns when she’s angry and the bully’s shadow creeps along the ground like a snake. They don’t have any superpowers, it’s just who they are.

Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a special film. Anytime I thought I was going to get bored and its charm would wear off–the film dazzled me with another surreal set-piece. The movie left me feeling like I had a vivid dream. I may sound crazy describing what happened to me to another person, but in the moment, it felt real to me and I’m a little sad that it’s over.

Tito W. James

Tito W. James writes action adventure comics for all ages that juxtapose creepy content with beautiful imagery. He is the mastermind behind CROSSBONE JONES and GANGSTERS VS GATORS. Tito’s goal is to create comics that capture the bombastic fun of old comics with the emotional resonance of new ones. ​