The Story of the Seagull and the Cat who taught her to fly


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La Gabbianella e il Gatto

Lucky and Zorba
This animated film is based on the children’s book, “The Story of the Seagull and the Cat who taught her to fly” written by: Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda. Zorba, a cat, one day finds a dying seagull in his yard, a victim of a recent oil spill. Zorba promises the gull that he'll look after the egg she's nesting, and before long Lucky is hatched. Zorba watches over Lucky, the baby bird and teaches it to fly with the help of his friends, but when Lucky runs away and encounters a gang of criminal sewer rats; Zorba must come to the rescue.
Directed by: Enzo D’Alo

Cast: Luis Sepulveda, Paola Tedesco, Carlo Verdone, Luca Biagini, Roberto Ciufoli, Antonio Albanese

Country: Italy

Running Time: 75 minutes

Year: 1998

Genre: Animation

Film Analysis

Enzo D'Alo, the director draws inspiration for his film from the children’s literature, Story of a seagull and the cat who taught her to fly, written by Luis Sepulveda. D'Alo knows how to respect the story without distorting it.

The film reflects on the richness of diversity. The rats and the cats each belong to their species with obvious differences in physical appearance, personality and above all very different characters. The rats are devoid of thoughts and points of view and need the Great Rat, their supreme leader to organize and guide the entire group. The cats do not have a leader; however each cat, diverse, is able to solve problems and get out of sticky situations because each one has knowledge, ideas, and different ways of doing things and can therefore provide the group with its own singular, unique and valuable contribution. Zorba, big and strong, is able to bring out the claws when necessary, but at the same time be gentle and tender just like a real mother. Diderot is a proud cat who is respected by the whole group for his wealth of wisdom and knowledge. Pallino (character absent in the book) is spiteful and jealous of the attention that adult cats give to Lucky. Zorba, the cat watches over Lucky, the seagull who wants to be just like the cats. Lucky is on a path of self-awareness and acknowledgement. The path is at times traumatic and painful but necessary. A young audience will relate well to the characters of Pallino and Lucky.

The story begins with the death of a mother seagull and the birth of her child. Zorba takes on the role of the mother and nurtures the baby into a confident seagull. This a good starting point for a discussion with children and teenagers about the complexity of life and death, separation from parents, the need for love and affection, and the need for autonomy and independence.

This film invites you to rediscover the value of friendship, solidarity, respect for nature, tolerance, and the richness of diversity.

(By Patrizia Canova, article from the site Lombardy Entertainment) Themes

  • The meaning of friendship

  • Exploring Life & Death

  • Courage

  • Environmental impact of oil spills on ecosystems

  • Family

  • Unconditional love

  • Family Diversity

  • Compassion

  • Respecting Nature

Recommended Ages
The film’s narrative and main idea are suitable for primary/junior students (Grades 2 -5).

Topics for Reflection
Pre Viewing

  • What are your predictions based on the title?

  • Create a Venn diagram of the characteristics of a Cat and a Seagull, comparing the similarities and differences.

  • What are the environmental impacts of an oil spill?

  • What is a metaphor?

After Viewing

  • What is the Main Idea of the film?
  • Summarize the story using the 5W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why).

  • Whose point of view is the narrative presented?

  • Whose point of view is missing?

  • What are the impacts of an oil spill on an ecosystem?

  • Create a storyboard retelling the story.

Ontario Curriculum / Subjects & Expectations
Oral Communication

Point of View

1.8 identify, initially with support and direction, who is speaking in an oral text, and demonstrate an understanding that the speaker has his or her own point of view (e.g., people, events, and details are viewed differently by different people)


Demonstrating Understanding

1.4 demonstrate understanding of a text by retelling the story or restating information from the text, with the inclusion of a few interesting details (e.g., retell a story or restate facts in proper sequence or

correct time order, with a few supporting details; restate the important ideas from a short informational text about the life cycle of a butterfly in the correct sequence)
Extending Understanding

1.6 extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them
Analysing Texts

1.7 identify the main idea and some additional elements of texts (e.g., narrative: characters, setting, problem, solution, events/episodes, resolution; procedure: goal, materials, method)

Responding to and Evaluating Texts

1.8 express personal thoughts and feelings about what has been read (e.g., by using visual art or music to communicate their reaction)


Organizing Ideas

1.5 identify and order main ideas and supporting details, using graphic organizers (e.g., a story grammar: characters, setting, problem, solution; a sequential chart: first, then, next, finally) and organizational patterns (e.g., problem solution, chronological order)

Media Literacy

Making Inferences/Interpreting Messages

1.2 identify overt and implied messages in simple media texts

(e.g.,• overt message of an advertisement for shoes: Great athletes wear these shoes; implied message: If you want to be like these athletes, buy these shoes; • overt message on a billboard advertising brand-name clothing: These attractive people wear this brand of clothing; implied messages: Wearing this brand of clothing will make you attractive too; clothing makes the person; • overt message in a superhero cartoon: The hero is a tall, strong man; implied message: Tall, strong men are like heroes)
Responding to and Evaluating Texts

1.3 express personal thoughts and feelings about simple media works and explain their responses (e.g., explain why a particular DVD/video or licensed character toy or game is more or less appealing to them than another, similar product)

Audience Responses

1.4 describe how different audiences might respond to specific media texts


2.1 identify some of the elements and characteristics of selected media forms (e.g., a television commercial uses speech, sound effects, and moving images to sell a product or service; a print advertisement uses words and pictures to sell a product or service; in a television news broadcast, an anchor and reporters report information about events that have actually happened, and use film or video clips from real locations around the world to illustrate those events)

Conventions and Techniques

2.2 identify the conventions and techniques used in some familiar media forms (e.g., cartoons use animation and sound to make fantasy characters seem real; cereal boxes use bright, strong colours, bold type, and inviting pictures of servings of the cereal to attract customers’ attention)

Producing Media Text

3.4 produce media texts for specific purposes and audiences, using a few simple media forms and appropriate conventions and techniques




By the end of Grade 2, students will:

1. assess ways in which animals have an impact on society and the environment, and ways in which humans have an impact upon animals and the places where they live;

2. investigate similarities and differences in the characteristics of various animals;

3. demonstrate an understanding that animals grow and change and have distinct characteristics.




By the end of Grade 2, students will:

1. assess ways in which the actions of humans have an impact on the quality of air and water, and ways in which the quality of air and water has an impact on living things;

2. investigate the characteristics of air and water and the visible/invisible effects of and changes to air and/or water in the environment;

3. demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which air and water are used by living

things to help them meet their basic needs.




By the end of Grade 4, students will:

  1. analyse the effects of human activities on habitats and communities

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