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Battledream Chronicle

  • Martinique
  • 2015
  • 108 mins
  • DCP
  • French
  • English (subtitles)

In the year 2100, humankind has achieved paradise — and seen it torn away from them. The digital realm of Farandjun has been usurped by a tyrannical computer virus that pits the nations of the world against each other in a virtual-reality tournament, to select who will reign supreme, and who will be subjugated. The gladiatorial combat of Battledream may be a simulacrum, but its consequences are chillingly real. The villainous nation of Mortemonde is on the cusp of total domination. Only the tiny island of Sablerêve remains to be crushed. The last hope for liberty is a young woman named Syanna, whose true nature remains a secret even to her. The odds against Syanna and her Battledream team seem insurmountable, but the heroes will not back down. Syanna will confront the fiercest fighters of Mortemonde, to kill the masters inside them — and the slave inside herself.

Animated feature films from the Caribbean can be counted on one hand, and Alain Bidard’s breathtaking BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE is the very first from the little island of Martinique. The lion’s share of the work was handled by Bidard alone, on a microscopic budget. And here’s the punchline: BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE meets the technical standards of all but the top-ranking works of Japanese anime which so thoroughly inspired Bidard, and steps into the arena of international animation with its head held high. Animated in the flattened 2D CG style, Bidard’s imaginary futureworld is boldly realized, its settings richly evoked, and its action scenes — oh boy, does it have action scenes — amazingly fluid and dynamic. At the heart of the action is Syanna, a truly sympathetic and authentic black female protagonist (something all but unheard of in the anime genre). It all adds up to essential viewing for fans of animated sci-fi thrills!

— Rupert Bottenberg