Marcel the shod shell

Film critic

Marcel is a shell. He tells us straight away. “I also have shoes. And… a face,” he said. “But I also have a lot of other great qualities.”

He lives in a large, human-sized house with his grandmother, Nanna Connie, and they are doing very well. Connie is gardening with the help of a bee or two. Marcel rigged a contraption to shake the fruit tree outside, leading to an abundance of citrus fruits. He runs around the house in a tennis ball. He walks a piece of plush as if it were a dog. (His name is Alan.)

But he misses the rest of his family.

The house was filled with them – his mother and father, his uncles and cousins, even some friendly nuts and uneaten cheesy puffs that the shells embraced as their own. Marcel did not lack company, and every Sunday evening they met to watch 60 minutes.

Alas, the human owners of the house, a man and a woman, began to fight more and more, which scared off the shells. They gathered in a sock drawer until the storm passed. But then, one terrible day, the man moved out, taking his socks with him. And, in the end, he also took most of the shells.

“It’s common knowledge that it takes at least 20 seashells to create a community,” Marcel solemnly tells Dean, who lives in the house (now a vacation rental) and is filming a documentary about Marcel. Marcel is missed by his family. He’s carved images of them into the back of a mirror, and he knows every cut and groove.

He would like to see them again. More than almost anything.

But finding a handful of seashells in this strange and vast world… seems like hoping for too much. So Marcel shakes his tree, walks his cuddly toys and tries to ignore that Nanna is more and more forgetful. This Nanna looks older and slower now. That perhaps, in a short time, Marcel could be all alone.

Marcel is a tough little shell. But small shells can be broken. And the heart inside? This is the most fragile part of all.


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