Césars 2021 Césars 2021

The 46th César Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, announced winners at a socially distanced ceremony in Paris that was punctuated by protests against theater closures in the country.

Josep, the feature directorial debut of French comic artist and political cartoonist Aurel, was named best animated feature. The 2d-animated film tells the story of Spanish illustrator Josep Bartoli, who fled Franco’s dictatorship in Spain in 1939, only to end up interned in a French concentration camp that had been set up to detain political refugees. It was selected as part of Cannes Festival’s line-up last year and has won numerous awards, including best animated feature at the European Film Awards.

The film sold almost 200,000 tickets on its release in France, which was curtailed when cinemas shut in late October in response to the pandemic. A U.S. distributor has not been announced. At the Césars, it beat Rémi Chayé’s Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary, which won the top feature prize at last year’s Annecy Festival and qualified for this year’s Oscars, and Joann Sfar’s Little Vampire.

Agnès Patron’s And Then the Bear, an enigmatic tale of a boy’s nighttime encounter with animals, won the César for best animated short. The 2d film has had a good festival run, playing in competition at Cannes and Toronto, and winning around a dozen awards. At the Césars it beat Elsa Duhamel’s Bach-Hông, Julien Bisaro’s Shooom’s Odyssey, and Paul Cabon’s Nettle Head.

Watch And Then the Bear below:

This year’s ceremony was the first to be held since an overhaul of the César Academy and the organization that oversees it, the Association for the Promotion of Cinema. For the first time, the academy has a dedicated animation branch.

Image at top: “Josep” (left), “And Then the Bear” (right)

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