Monday, February 20, 2023

Draw Me Saint-Exupery, on

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger de Saint-Exupery crashed planes on multiple continents. He led a dashing life and saw one of his adult books adapted as a Clark Gable film, even though he did not exactly look like a matinee idol himself. Yet, he is almost entirely remembered as a children’s book author. Andres Jarach profiles the man who wrote The Little Prince in Draw Me Saint Exupery, which premieres Thursday on

If you are looking for a deep dive into
The Little Prince, Jarach is likely to disappoint. He largely assumes you already know about the Price, the Aviator, and the Flower. Instead, he focuses on the rest of Saint-Exupery’s life. He was a WWI veteran, but to a large degree, his public image and world view were shaped by his time with. Aeropostale.

Through vintage interview and aerial footage, Jarach conveys the romanticism of Aeropostale pilots at their peak, as well as the vital role they played connecting France to North Africa and Latin America. You could directly compare them to the Pony Express, but with greater refinement. Having a bit of a reputation for recklessness, Saint-Exupery was eventually promoted from pilot to a kind of trouble-shooter, who often arranged the release of pilots taken hostage by North African warlords.

There really isn’t much of the Prince, but viewers still get a lot of the book’s vibe, because Jarach often overlays his archival footage with animated accents and flourishes, done in the style of Saint-Exupery’s
Little Prince illustrations. It is all quite elegant looking and somewhat whimsical, even though the tenor of the author’s lifetime was anything but.

For some viewers, Saint-Exupery the aviator and adventurer might be more intriguing than Saint-Exupery, the author of
The Little Prince. He was a rather complicated fellow, who often courted controversy. For instance, his reporting from the Spanish Civil War generated outrage for calling out the violence of both sides, but it holds up rather well in retrospect, for anyone who has read For Whom the Bell Tolls and Homage to Catalonia.

Just under an hour,
Draw Me Saint-Exupery is an entertaining chronicle of the man as he knew himself: aviator, aviation writer, womanizing rogue. The Little Prince is the coda, which is gives the doc bittersweet resonance for his fans. It is a nice little film, definitely recommended for OVID subscribers when it starts streaming Thursday (2/23).