According to the UK’s News Telegraph online, people in Belgium are aghast at an adult-oriented cartoon which shows the blue-skinned Smurf characters’ village being bombed by war-planes. The short was previewed on Belgian television yesterday.
The distressing short feature is the product of UNICEF, the United Nations Childrens Fund, and will be broadcast this week in Belgium as part of their yearly campaign.
Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the 25-second film earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.
It should surprise no one that small children who view the film, see the adult Smurfs die horribly, and Baby Smurf left a wailing orphan in the bombed-out ruins of the village, might react with terror. Due to this, UNICEF has pledged that the short will not be broadcast before 9 pm.
The animation was okayed by the estate of “Peyo,” the late creator of the cartoon characters.
The advertising agency behind the campaign, Publicis, decided the best way to convey the impact of war on children was to tap into the earliest, happiest memories of Belgian television viewers. They chose the Smurfs, who first appeared in a Belgian comic in 1958.
The agency’s original plans called for flying dismembered limbs, but they agreed to tone down the film somewhat.
Even so, says Hendrik Coysman, managing director of IMPS, the family company which holds rights to the Smurfs, “that crying baby really goes to your bones.