The Annecy Cristal-winning French animated feature April and the Extraordinary World (Avril et le monde truqué) got an English-subbed trailer today.
Based on a graphic novel by Jacques Tardi and directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, the dark, dystopian steampunk sci-fi comes with a meaty plot:
1941. The world is radically different from the one usually depicted in history. Napoleon V reigns over France, where, like everywhere else on the globe, scholars and scientist are mysteriously disappearing, depriving humanity of major inventions. This has been going on for seventy years. Unaware in particular of the radio, television, electricity, aviation, and the combustion engine, this world has got stuck in out-of-date technology, as though slumbering in nineteenth century knowledge, governed by coal and steam.
In this strange world, April, a young girl, sets out to find her scientist parents, who have disappeared. April is accompanied by Darwin, her talking cat, and Julius, a young street urchin. This trio must cope with the dangers and mysteries of this Extraordinary World. Who has been kidnapping the scholars and scientists for decades? And for what sinister purpose?
The film has received much praise since launching on the festival circuit earlier this year, with Variety saying it’s the “rare toon that leaves kids inspired not to buy toys, but to make the world a better place.”