Tomi Ungerer has just been honored with a long-overdue homage film. I was once very close to seeing him live at an opening of his drawings in Munich, but there was a drunk down in the subway in serious danger of falling off the platform and killing himself who needed saving, so in the end I didn’t get to the venue in time. It seems fitting to have missed Ungerer due to such a physically and mentally challenging experience, somehow. Ungerer is so real, knows the human condition, is unblinking and always has an undertow that is both funny and violent. He seems to have been forgiven for the erotic drawings that from 1970 made him a persona non grata. It was simply unthinkable at the time that a children’s author could also have a dirty mind. I don’t like those pictures myself, but I can’t deny his unbelievable creative genius. Now many of his books with his immediately recognizable drawings, including his fantastic Vietnam protest posters, are being republished. Here is a preview of the film. I’m adding two animations of one of the books I remember well, The Three Robbers, from 1972 and from 2007. My favorite is “Otto”.
Tomi Ungerer is good in any language.