Title: L’Ape Maia (Maia The  Bee)

Director: Alexs Stadermann

Genre: Animation

Country: Germany

Those who were kids in Europe, from the 70s onwards, will remember the jingle of the cartoon that had as protagonist a young and adventurous female bee.

The insect which became popular amongst young audiences, through the book series written by Waldermar Bonsels, won’t be surprised to see that Maia, the Bee, has now flown from the small screen to the big screen.

‘L’Ape Maia’ is an ode to friendship, freedom and courage. Just as in the cartoon series the feisty young bee has spirit, and her curiosity and desire for adventure clash with the disciplined rules within the beehive.

The story is set in the background of the ancient conflict between bees and hornets. Maia attempts to be a good bee despite her nature triggers her to discover the world. A great antagonist to her inclination will be the Queen Bee’s evil councillor, who plans to take over the hive and become Queen. Naturally, Maia (with a little help from her group of friends) will save the day.

The story is very linear, for a range of very young children. There is no trait or subtext we haven’t already devoured in other educational animation flicks. Whereas the dignified computer graphics serve the purpose, but have nothing of exceptional. Maia embodies a fairly good role model, certainly for her ethics. Her excessive zeal may at times get on your nerves but it’s refreshing to see an unconventional rebellious heroine, who nevertheless sticks to her set of moral values, rather than being presented with the customary Miss Smarty Pants. Maia’s special trait is to remind the younger ones on the importance of leaving the nest (or beehive in this case) to achieve proper emancipation.

Technical: C+

Story: C+

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

LApe Maia

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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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