The Hunchback of Notre Dame was Produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance, the film is considered to be one of Disney’s darkest animated films as its narrative explores such mature themes as infanticide, lust, damnation, genocide, and sin.
I wasn’t really satisfied with turning Esmerelda into an antagonist as gypsies have been symbolised as evil and I want to tell a story that is beyond all the themes shown in this film. I want this story to be a personal journey of the poor, downtrodden, gypsy’s all the outcasts to regain confidence, showcase their talent and turn victorious. I want this to be a story of the history of crafts, puppets and gypsy dance form. I read about the gypsy dance form which has a lot of cultural implications even today.
The Romani or Roma, are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent presumably from where the states Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab exist today. The costumes and the Indian dance forms from Rajasthan have significant influences from the gypsy dance forms.
This is the changed story plot:
More than 500 years ago in the city of Paris, there was injustice and the different art and skill forms were considered as black magic, dances and magic shows were considered a form of witchcraft. Paris was dominated by all the wealthy money making merchants who had no vale for the art forms in the city. The Bells of Notre Dame had observed these scenes from the topmost picturesque place from the highest floor of the church. The bells come to life and are furious -The Bells first cast a spell on the bell ringer Quasimodo who creates fantastic clay figurings but hides and lives in the church. The bells then ask him to be the leader and go and influence the two other talented people in the city – Esmerelda – the gypsy and magic tricks dancer and Clopin who makes puppet shows. Together they organize a festival at the Court of Miracles and display their art forms . The bells proudly watch the entire show and turn solid again. Esmerelda, Clopin and Quasimodo then decide to turn the place into an educational school and this is how dance forms, magic tricks , puppet shows, crafts came into existence.
So here is a depiction of the 3 important characters from my Story –
This is a moodboard I created to build up the character of the Bells of Notre Dame.
The bells of Notre Dame are the protagonist of my story. I created this character for my bells using photoshop brushes and textures and elements from other pictures.
“Morning in Paris, the city awakes To the bells of Notre Dame The fisherman fishes, the bakerman bakes To the bells of Notre Dame To the big bells as loud as the thunder To the little bells soft as a psalm And some say the soul of the city is The toll of the bells The bells of Notre Dame Dark was the night when our tale was begun On the docks near Notre Dame Four frightened gypsies slid silently under The docks near Notre Dame But a trap had been laid for the gypsies And they gazed up in fear and alarm At a figure whose clutches Were iron as much as the bells The bells of Notre Dame Judge Claude Frollo longed To purge the world Of vice and sin”
These lines and the song from the film are powerful and inspired me to give the Bells of Notre Dame a character.
The bell ringer who has a hunch and is an aspiring warrior and a clay character artist.
This is the Gypsy Dancer Esmerelda who is beautiful and her costumes have influences from different cultures.