A Smurfing Success – Schtroumpfs Rule!

My food week isn’t going well. First it was interrupted by Baby Sarkozy (Giulia, not Dahlia after all) and then my computer refused to let me edit photos so I couldn’t do my Paté de Pommes de Terre article. And let’s face it. I’m not a foodie. I could happily live on muesli and chocolate – actually, I already do just about! So another non-food post for you.

Last night I went to the cinema for the first time in France. It’s taken five years, but I’ve finally got round to it. Ruadhri wanted to see the Smurf film. He doesn’t ask for much, bless him, so I steeld myself and said I’d take him. And it was brilliant! Rors was squealing with excitement through quite a lot of it. I didn’t quite go that far but I laughed a lot and was thorougly enteretained in Boussac’s little occasional cinema for the whole evening.

Ruadhri really loves the Smurfs – or rather the Schtroumpfs, as they’re called in French. He is addicted to the comic books (bandes desinées) about them. So now, having seen the film too, I decided it was time to find out more.

In case you didn’t know, Smurfs are fictional characters with blue skin, white trousers and white hats. They live somewhere deep in the forest, and travel long distances by stork. They began back in 1958 as a comic strip in Spirou magazine, drawn by Belgian cartoonist Peyo (Pierre Culliford). Soon they got their own comic, and then books and films, and then the merchandising machine swung into action. You can now get Smurf toys, figurines and games.

I’ve had a browse through the books. The stories are straightforward with lots of action. And they use the word ‘Smurf’ a lot – as a noun or a verb. You get sentences such as: ‘This time I’m going to smurf. I know it!’ and ‘It’s going to smurf us like a mouse’. Sounds confusing? Probably, but the pictures give an idea of what’s going on. The French version has an advantage over the English as we get the distinction between ‘schtroumpfer’ (verb) and ‘schtroumpf’ (noun). That probably helps the kids work out what’s going on a bit easier. And there was I in my books, trying to use as varied a vocabulary as I could!

Anyway, Ruadhri loves the books and I haven’t noticed him saying Smurf all the time. So I’ll let him work his way through the series. They’re the first books he makes a beeline for at the library. Closely followed by Scrameustache, another comic books series (but I’ll save that one for another day).

The Smurf books have been translated into 25 languages, and more than 25 million copies have been sold. Now I could do with sales like that! And now there’s the film too.

However, see this article for another viewpoint on the Smurfs as racist and anti-Semtic. Who’s right – Ruadhri or this professor?

0 Replies to “A Smurfing Success – Schtroumpfs Rule!”

  1. It took us several years before we got to our local cinema, which is actually a very good one.

    I can’t seem to access the article you link to. I’m sure the URL is correct – it’s probably our hopeless Internet connection. I don’t know anything about the Smurfs apart from what you write, but for many years previously popular children’s series, like Noddy, have been pilloried by the politically correct brigade for being racist etc. Naturally, one wouldn’t want children being indoctrinated by racist or anti-semitic material, but I think there has to be a middle way, otherwise nobody would ever write anything!

    1. I’ll check the link out. Sorry it’s not working.
      As you say, the PC crowd take things way too far. And clearly people don’t find either Noddy or the Smurfs offensive because they’re so popular, especially here.

  2. You need to get out more Steph! I have pretty much given up on Hollywood blockbusters and spend my time going to watch FRENCH films! there are so many delightful, charming and innocently funny ones. I trust you have seem the two recent Dany Boon ones Bienvenue les Chtis and Rien à declarer? – we just loved them!

    1. No. I’m ashamed to say that up to now I have avoided French films like the plague! But no more. I shall go to the cinema more often. It was a great night out. I went to see films as a child and pre kids, Chris and I would go to the pictures quite regularly. It will be nice to have some more nights at the movies.

  3. I was wondering whether smurfs were still popular among kids these days. I guess they are if they made a movie.
    Scrameustache was definitely one of my favorite comic book when I was a kid.

    1. Kids definitely still adore the schtroumpfs in France. I think they’ll go on for ever. I must look into Scarmeustache next, that’s another hugely popular BD series – as you know!

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