I found myself listening to more than a little French throughout the festival this year. And all of the French animated features this year were award-nominees at The Cesars which is pretty much France’s Oscars.
Zarafa is a continent-spanning adventure in which a young boy, Maki, escapes from slave traders which leads him to a herd of giraffes and Mahmoud who is tasked with bringing back a giraffe to the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt. The Viceroy sends Mahmoud to France with the beautiful creature as a royal offering to King Charles X. Along the way they are helped by a balloonist and pirates, pick up some friends, traverse exciting and dangerous ground, and eventually reach the city of Paris all while being pursued by the slave trader with a grudge.
Zarafa (the giraffe) is based on the real story of France’s first giraffe which was a sensation that even influenced fashion.