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The animated feature Josep takes a strikingly original approach to
the story of Josep Bartolí, a Catalan artist who fought Franco in the
Spanish Civil War and later went into exile in Mexico City and New
York. The film focuses on a relatively little known but particularly
dark episode in European history: after the fall of Barcelona to
Franco’s troops in January 1939, 500,000 refugees escaped to
France, only to be detained in French concentration camps. One
of these refugees was Josep Bartolí, who created a visual record
of the abysmal conditions in which he and his fellow Republicans
were kept. But the focus here is primarily on the unlikely friendship
between the Catalan artist and Serge, a rookie French police officer
charged with guarding the camp. Told in flashback by the elderly
Serge to his teenage grandson, Josep combines an illuminating
attention to historical detail and flights of the imagination that
carry Serge from the South of France to Mexico to reunite with
Josep and meet his (real-life) mistress Frida Kahlo. With his feature
debut as a director, prominent French cartoonist Aurel reveals his
affinity for the power of drawing, combining standard animation
techniques with haunting sequences conceived to capture the feel
of Bartolí’s prison sketches.

Label Cannes 2020 + Annecy 2020 + European Animated Feature
Film Award at the EFAs 2020