When I Was 6, I Killed a Dragon
Quand j'avais 6 ans, j'ai tué un dragon
One April morning in 2012, the director Bruno Romy ("The Fairy") and the artist Annabelle Cocollos are told that Mika, their 6-year-old daughter, has leukemia. Eight months later, when Mika is finally able to return to school, the family decides to make a documentary called “When I Was 6, I Killed a Dragon.” Surprisingly fun and full of life, even as it deals with illness and the fear of death, the film blends fantasy and slapstick into its lively mix and incorporates touching, playful, and sometimes fantastical footage: Mika dresses as a superhero and a clown, the kid patients and the hospital staff belt out a song about bananas, and the family members all receive pies to the face. Through voice-over, the main characters — mom, dad, child, and doctor — speak to each other and the audience members, confiding their thoughts. A surreal pageant that includes animated sequences made from drawings by Mika and Annabelle, the film is by turns sad and funny, emotionally frank and wildly imaginative — a work filled with humor and music. Romy’s fiction films draw inspiration from the work of Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, and Buster Keaton, and this documentary — despite its seemingly grim subject — is buoyed by the same comic spirit.