No sooner have the human couple been created than they start to envy all the other living creatures.

Credit: Radio-Canada, colour, 00:52


All Nothing is Frédéric Back's sixth animated film produced by Radio-Canada as part of an exchange agreement with the European Broadcasting Union. The film's title was inspired by the theatrical work A Soldier's Tale, written by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz and set to music by Igor Stravinsky. It is a parable about a soldier who trades his fiddle to the Devil for a book that provides him with all the riches of the world. But he soon comes to the bitter realization that having everything is like having nothing at all.

The film has been admired by audiences the world over. Its creator hopes that its timeless, universal message will continue to touch the hearts of children for generations to come.


All Nothing is an allegory of the creation of the world. Out of nothingness emerge untold riches. The animal species are all content with their lot, but human beings are forever complaining about the way they look and what they have or don't have. The film explores this very human form of dissatisfaction, which stems from a tendency to equate having with happiness. Unlike the other animal species, whose appetites and territorial instincts have their bounds, humans are so greedy they end up making themselves miserable.


"Possessions, like happiness, are always eluding our grasp. Instead of constantly wanting to have, wouldn't it be better simply to be-to watch and let the natural environment exist in peace? A world whose true joys and riches, continually renewed and replenished, we have yet to fully appreciate?" asks Frédéric Back. Speaking to young audiences in particular, the activist filmmaker reminds children that the desire to own things is the source of much human misery. In fact, happiness is only possible when we share Earth's bounty.

All Nothing marked a turning point in Frédéric Back's career when it was nominated for an Oscar® by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1981.