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Delightfully old school

Delightfully old school
Zarafa is like a breath of fresh air in an age when ‘cartoon’ films have become synonymous with 3-D and CGI technology. Breakthrough as they are, of late, the spate of releases have merely become tools of technology, what with the plot last in transition. This is where Zarafa scores. A French production, this old school line drawing, which is propped up two dimensionally, cuts through competition from big studios with a solid story that draws from history (and not, thankfully, fairy tales).

So ok, Zarafa is the new Bambi. But still, had it been a Hollywood production, we could be sure that the little boy would have flown back home with Zarafa. The French, with their customary insouciance, dismiss the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ and stick to a realistic plotline. The director-duo – Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie – might not have technology to dazzle you, but ingenuity, they seem to have plenty at hand. Watch out for the bit when the
Zarafa
and company make their way to Paris from Valence on hot-air balloon. Incredible.

Zarafa is loosely based on the historical event: of the Giraffe given to Charles X of France by Muhammad Ali of Egypt. Within that template, the directors pack in the slavery, the Bedouin way of life, pirates from Greece and tongue-in-cheek look at French royalty. And no, it does not get preachy. We simply follow the little black boy as he escapes the clutches of the slave trader and makes his way to Paris, adamant to get the giraffe that he befriends on his way, back to Africa.
Jemima Raman

Jemima Raman

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