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Now here's a strange one. Lili is a musical on what seems like a technicality - there's exactly one song, but two balletic dream sequences, and the sets are painted as to give the film a fairy tale quality - and stars French dancer and actress Leslie Caron in the eponymous role of a naive orphan who ends up as the human figure in a carnival's puppet show. And I honestly don't know what to think of it. The puppets are expressive and surprisingly endearing, used as characters in their own right though they give voice to the puppeteer's most inward thoughts and feelings, but there's something off-putting about Lili's child-like relationship with them. Caron, cute as a button, might as well be playing an 8 year old, but then she's also caught in a romantic triangle (a girl's, not a woman's though, at least until she grows up in the third act). Between the admittedly good dream ballets, the painted backdrops and the mutable age of the character, maybe this should be taken as a fantasy, a fabulistic coming of age story that lives more in the metaphorical than the literal. An oddity.
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