Set on the Mediterranean island of Crete, the film proposes an untold story from the childhood of Icarus, who works as an apprentice to his father Daedalus in the man’s sculpture workshop at Knossos. While out exploring one day, Icarus discovers a mysterious boy his own age with the head of a bull who lives hidden in the Royal Palace of King Minos. The boys quickly become friends before Minos locks the “monster” in his labyrinth. When the great warrior prince Theseus arrives to slay the Minotaur, Icarus puts everything on the line to save his friend.
In a statement, Luxembourg’s National Oscar Selection Commission said they picked the animated feature:
Because of its artistic and aesthetic qualities as well as for its narration which, freely inspired by Greek mythology, tells the story of the fiery youth who flies too close to the sun from Icarus’ point of view. Through his eyes, viewers discover the injustices and cruelty of men with the protagonist; this narrative choice allowed director Carlo Vogele to develop a personal reading of the myth.
Cartoon Brew debuted the concept trailer for the Icarus way back in 2017, when the film was still in development. At the time, Vogele explained how the film would add new twists to Greek mythology. “The idea is to imagine the youth of the young Icarus, a part that goes unmentioned in the myth as we know it,” he said.