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Why is The Little Prince the most translated non-religious text ever? A new doc finds its heart

In his new documentary, Charles Officer gives you a glimpse into what makes The Little Prince so special — and why it still means so much to him today.

In his new documentary, Charles Officer gives you a glimpse into what makes The Little Prince so special

Still from Invisible Essence: The Little Prince. (90th Parallel Productions/Groupe Fair-Play/Canesugar Filmworks)

The Little Prince is a short novel about a displaced boy from another planet who forms close friendships and negotiates sadness — all weighty concepts for tiny readers. It's the kind of book you get something different from reading as a kid than you do as an adult. It's also the most-translated non-religious text ever (just to give you a sense of how much it's meant to a lot of people).

In his new documentary produced in collaboration with the CBC called Invisible Essence: The Little Prince, Charles Officer looks at the way the 1943 book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has traversed decades and cultures to remain an evocative tool for learning about your own heart. And he introduces Sahil, a young boy who finds his own way through The Little Prince.

Watch the video:

Filmmaker Charles Officer goes looking for what has made The Little Prince a book that's resonated with people for decades. Filmmakers: Istoica. 5:02

In this video made by filmmakers Istoica, Officer gives you a glimpse into what makes The Little Prince so special — and why it still means so much to him today. As he explains: "This book resonated with me from the first time I read it when I was 21, and I just felt that in our time right now it wouldn't hurt for us to revisit this book. And I believe when it comes full circle, it is about our connections and our relationships that matter the most."

Catch Invisible Essence: The Little Prince on CBC's documentary Channel on Monday, December 17 at 8 p.m. ET and PT.

Charles Officer. (CBC Arts)
Still from Invisible Essence: The Little Prince. (90th Parallel Productions/Groupe Fair-Play/Canesugar Filmworks)
Reading The Little Prince. (CBC Arts)

Stream CBC Arts: Exhibitionists or catch it on CBC Television Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT). Watch more videos here.

About the Author

Lise Hosein

Lise Hosein is a producer at CBC Arts. Before that, she was an arts reporter at JazzFM 91, an interview producer at George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. When she's not at her CBC Arts desk she's sometimes an instructor at OCADU and is always quite terrified of bees.