July 29, 2021

At the Annecy festival, animation on the paths of committed storytelling

“I would like to thank my producers, because they were very courageous: it would have been easier for them to produce a children’s film in 3D! “ Come to present My afghan family, his first feature film in competition at the International Film Festival of Annecy animation (until June 19), Michaela Pavlatova, 60, twirls around to the applause of festival-goers. The Czech director, more accustomed to short formats for which she has received numerous awards, has finally taken the plunge with an adaptation of the novel by Czech journalist Petra Prochazkova, Freshta (2012).

Autobiographical, this story recounts his marriage and his installation in Kabul with an Afghan. Immigrated to a country where “Nothing is holding her back”, the heroine, Helena, who became Herra, will not, however, become “Never a real Afghan woman”. Torn between the desire to take responsibility for her choices and the rejection of the traditions of her adopted homeland, the young woman launches in spite of herself on a quest for identity. “Having left everything myself to follow the man of my life abroad, I wanted to tell this story”, testifies the director.

Michaël Marin, festival director: “We finally understand that what matters is the purpose, not the technique”

Like Michaela Pavlatova, many filmmakers present this year in Annecy have taken up sensitive societal themes, even taboos. “Animation is conquering a much larger audience, especially because the new generations are taking a fresh look at this genre., remarks Michaël Marin, director of the festival. We finally understand that what matters is the purpose, not the technique. “

This is particularly the case of Florence Miailhe, 65, also competing for the first time in the feature film category. Inspired by the story of her great-grandmother who emigrated from Odessa in the early 20th centurye century, Crossing follows the misadventures of young Kyona and her little brother Adriel, brutally separated from their parents as the whole family flees the war. “This is the great advantage of animation: being able to show things that would be unbearable in real shooting. It’s a real freedom ”, assure Florence Miailhe.

Darkness and delicacy

The 2021 edition of the festival confirms this basic – and already long-standing – trend in animation. Also testifies Black Barbie, by Anglo-Ghanaian Comfort Arthur. The first Ghanaian film selected at Annecy, this short film tackles the bleaching of the skin of black women, a phenomenon as widespread as it is taboo. “This kind of subject is delicate. When we want to talk about the body, we don’t necessarily know what we can show, underlines Marcel Jean, artistic delegate of the festival. Animation does not allow an illustration in the literal sense, but imagery. Finally, we can address a wider audience, perhaps less initiated and aware of these subjects. ”

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