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Invisible Essence: The Little Prince

How one little tale became the biggest literary phenomenon of all time

Charles Officer’s Invisible Essence: The Little Prince is a gentle, loving consideration of the legacy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved book.

Poster for the literary documentary Invisible Essence: The Little PrinceUsing excerpts from the book’s various movie, dance, film, and radio adaptations over the decades, along with contemporary interviews with artists, academics and members of Saint-Exupéry’s family, Officer constructs a sort of annotated reading of the text, taking us through the story of the stranded aviator and the curious alien child he befriends in the desert from its gentle beginning to its bittersweet conclusion. Along the way, Officer peeks into classrooms around the world to see how the story plays to a new generation of kids. It turns out that some tales really are timeless, especially those rooted in curiosity and empathy.

Seeing all these different interpretations emerge from one classic story is beguiling, and Officer uses them as sources to illustrate the analysis and background provided by a host of experts. And stitched through it all is a history of Saint-Exupéry himself, investigating the tragedies of his early life, his complicated romantic relationship with his wife, Consuelo Suncín, and his lifelong fascination with aviation – all of which informed and influenced The Little Prince in one way or another. 

– Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto

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