“You’re playing with fire!” “, “Not all aquatics are alike! “, “You’re hot, it’s crazy! “Go spread yourself somewhere else!” Let’s stop here the enumeration of puns around the lexical fields of fire and water. There are so many in Elementary that we quickly stopped counting them.

The new cartoon from Pixar studios, presented as a preview at the close of the 76th Cannes Film Festival, and which will be released in theaters on June 21, indeed depicts, in the line of Vice-versa, the meeting between the fire and water on a background of acceptance of differences. In Element City, the four elements – fire, water, earth, and air – live in perfect harmony. Finally, except for creatures from fire, considered dangerous by others, and relegated to the suburbs.

This is where Flam lives, an intrepid, quick-witted young woman with a strong character, with her parents who run the Foyer, a neighborhood grocery store that has become an institution. While trying to learn to tame a fiery temper in order to take up the torch after her father, Flam meets Flack Delamare, an “aquatic”, sentimental boy, funny in spite of himself, rather follower at heart , from the upscale neighborhoods of Element City. Of course, the friendship between these two will quickly challenge the limits of the world they live in and shift the boundaries of tolerance.

After a few difficult years for Pixar (the flop of Buzz Lightyear in 2022, and the release on the platforms of the magnificent Soul due to the closure of theaters in the middle of Covid), the studio returns here to its best with this story of love, both so personal and so universal, inspired by the meeting of the director of the film, Peter Sohn (Le Voyage d’Arlo, 2015), with his wife. “I am Korean; she is American, half Italian. At first, I hid this relationship from my parents because they traditionally wanted me to marry a Korean. My grandmother’s last words were literally, “Marry a Korean girl!” My father and mother emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s, so I was born and raised with Korean traditions, language, and culture in the very American city of New York. This resulted in culture clashes between the first and second generation. I took for granted the trials and tribulations they had to go through. »

Clash of cultures, conflict between generations, transmission… To make the remarks realistic on these thorny subjects, Peter Sohn has not only summoned his personal history, but also that of a hundred colleagues from Pixar, first-class immigrants or second generation, who came together to talk about their past, their experiences. The result on the screen is both funny and moving, at the crossroads of the family saga and the romantic comedy, and carried by the formidable musical score of Thomas Newman (Finding Dory, OO7: Skyfall…).

But it is above all a step further for the studio acquired in 2006 by Disney, which innovates once again with a revolutionary process which allows the characters to be animated constantly. Flam and its congeners are thus flames, in permanent motion, and it’s sublime to watch. The graphic prowess also applies to the decor of Element City, an architectural madness, a megalopolis with an archi-futuristic look, where bodies of water, fountains and lush vegetation have their place. Fans of VO, prefer this time the VF. Vincent Lacoste is amazing in naive, whiny and humorous Flack and Adèle Exarchopoulos offers amazing variations to her voice to go from lassitude to overheating. Renowned for its masterpieces like Toy Story or Finding Nemo, Pixar had never before placed love so much at the heart of one of its intrigues. The two Wall-E robots did have a little crush, but nothing to do with the sparks that Flack and Flam’s relationship sparks, initially not daring to touch each other. What happens to water on contact with flame? And the fire drowned in tears? Answer in theaters on June 21.