Zarafa France, Belgium 2012.

On Saturday 16th January – 11.30 a.m.


Good news, this animated film gets a rerun screening. The version on show may have the original French narration dubbed into English. A friend, who saw the film in the dubbed version, recommended it highly. Since then I have been waiting for an opportunity to catch it.

The title refers to a giraffe, in fact an actual giraffe offered as a present in the early C19th to the French king by the Viceroy of Egypt. The actual hero of the tale is the young Sudanese Maki, who also meets or tangles with slavers, pirates and the Turkish army. He and Zarafa have to cross the desert and pilot their way to France.

This is a tale from the colonial era, but by and large it is the Europeans who are represented negatively. As well as adventures the film offers humour and emotion.

It is another fine example of relatively traditional animation techniques:

“Using a wide-ranging colour palette that shifts from the warmer hues of the Sahara desert to the colder, sadder blues and greys of old-time Paris, Lie and his team provide a pared-down animation technique that recalls classic Disney, albeit with a rougher, at times abstract touch (especially during the Egypt-set sequences).” (Hollywood Reporter)

The screening promises to be a real treat following in the footsteps of the films by Sydney Chomet [Les triplettes de Belleville, 2003 and L’illusionniste, 2010].

Note the film starts promptly at 1130 – more good news, apparently no adverts.

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