Expired May 21, 2021 4:59 AM
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Set primarily in 1939 just before the end of the Spanish Civil War, this evocative animated movie reveals the French concentration camps that were established to contain Spanish republicans fleeing Franco’s dictatorship. Against the often-brutal backdrop of one camp, where the refugees barely have access to hygiene, water and food, a trusting friendship develops between a French guard and the anti-fascist Spanish illustrator Josep Bartoli (1910-1995). The first feature-length movie from the cartoonist and graphic novelist Aurel is an extension of his journalistic work that often explores fascinating figures neglected by history. Such a figure is Bartoli, who later continued his work in Hollywood, New York, and Mexico where he was one of Frida Kahlo’s lovers. Aurel structures Josep with a framing story about a young man discovering his grandfather’s past that is told with more traditional, fluid animation. In contrast, the extended flashbacks that tell Bartoli’s saga are expressed in limited animation, a simple technique that pays tribute to both Bartoli and Aurel’s drawing style through implied movement. These sequences also successfully rely on the force of editing and sound design to give the narrative impact. The resulting feature is an actualization of Aurel’s stated theme: “Drawing is the force behind everything that happens in the film.” Josep is a unique cinematic experience about the ability to transcend pain and build a life through art. “A delicate, thoughtful film, moving and real. Not utterly bleak either, ending with a rampage of colour and life in Mexico – and a brilliantly sweary cameo from Kahlo” (The Guardian).

  • Year
  • Runtime
    74 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
    Jean-Louis Milesi
  • Producer
    Serge Lalou
  • Cast
    Sergi Lopez, Bruno Solo, David Marsais, Silvia Perez Cruz
  • Editor
    Thomas Belair