Far from the big productions signed Disney or Netflix, or youth animation, several films in the running for the Golden Crystal on Saturday have a dark tone, immersing themselves in the causes of the conflicts or their consequences, through the testimonies of victims.

With its apocalyptic battles between unicorns and cubs in a magical forest, Unicorn Wars (out November 30), a satire on militarism, indoctrination and toxic masculinity, is probably the most singular.

“Animation has its own language. It’s a very free medium, between cinema and comics”and which can embrace all sorts of subjects, as here “the universal causes of conflict”explains to AFP its director Alberto Vasquez.

Cubs VS unicorns

In an atmosphere of the end of the world, the Orwellian film Unicorn Wars retraces the story of two bear cubs, twin brothers, embarked on a war against the unicorns, guardians of the forest. “Cubs live in a military society”alliance of the saber and the sprinkler, with a priest justifying the holy war against the unicorns, in the name of a doctrine: he who will drink the blood of the last unicorn will be sanctified.

Alberto Vasquez, who likes to profane the cutest icons of pop culture, with forceful impalement of teddy bears, explains that he takes advantage of the total freedom that animation offers to mix Apocalypse Now and the Bible: “the idea is a bit punk”he euphemizes, “it’s provocative and not complacent”.

realistic vein

Other filmmakers follow a more realistic vein, a year after the Cristal d’Or at Flee, the true story of the flight to Europe of a young homosexual Afghan refugee. The animation made it possible to put a human face on the question, while preserving the anonymity of the person who inspired it.

This year, Angola and its civil war are at the heart of Nayola, a film by José Miguel Ribeiro. He depicts three generations of women traumatized by the war: a grandmother, a mother and her daughter. Whether they have seen their lives shattered by the conflict, their husbands disappear in the fighting or whether they are trying to overcome these stigmas by launching into rap, these three women find themselves in this dreamlike film, which wants to immerse us in their inner universe.

Adapted from an Angolan play by a director from Portugal, the former colonial power, this film, produced in 2D with different animation techniques, aims to emphasize the place of women in conflicts.

The evocative power of animation

A challenge shared Charlotte, devoted to the Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, murdered in Auschwitz at the age of 26. The writer David Foenkinos had already retraced her destiny in a novel of the same title, in 2014. Classically constructed, mixing sobriety and impressionism, the film retraces the last years of the tragic life of this German painter, who finds refuge on the Côte d’Azur before being overtaken by the Nazis.

Until her deportation, she never stopped painting her life’s work. Leben? or Theater?, a series of more than 700 gouaches and watercolors which miraculously survived the destruction. “After Schindler’s List, Spielberg’s Holocaust masterpiece,it is difficult to remake a film on the same subject“, admits one of the co-directors, Eric Warin.

With its close-ups on the faces, but also fades and dives into the artist’s paintings, which come to life on the screen, the film intends “place the viewer on his shoulder, painting”he adds: “Animation allows things that cannot be expressed with cinema.” traditional.

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