Animation and Documentary: The New Entries to the Cannes Festival By Pablo O. Scholz

in 60th Cannes Film Festival

by Pablo Scholz

Until this new century, there had not been a place for animation features in competition at Cannes and the same went for the documentary. But everything changed when one ugly and green ogro came to visit la Cote d’Azur on 2001, and Shrek opened up a way that Persepolis can cross without hesitation into this edition of Cannes.

This new film also proves that there is a space for mature animation, for adults that don’t even care about parodies more appropriated for young audiences. Persepolis brings to us Marjane, an Iranian girl who passed through adolescent and maturity with some punches on her face. The discovery of the faith, the first love and the disappointment, the politically incorrect surfaces all attribute to the dynamic style of directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parannaud. Even though they used the same style for the graphic novel by Satrapi, they still prefer to use animation in black and white. And it is well that thus it is.

In these times, the cinema is no longer the vehicle that it used to be in the audio-visual field because it is now being delayed in its attitude of risk. Therefore it is mainly non artistic, due in part to the television and the Internet.

Until recently, animation was principally the only way possible to make reality many dreams that cinematographically were impossible. But today, with the progresses of CGI, anyone can fly, disappear, change their appearance, etc. In light of this, the eruption of Persepolis is welcome, since with Marjane’s character it does not make another thing that to live has undergone life before our eyes. There are no special effects that can replace, nor even improve, a good story.

And it is not the same to offer to the public films of net commercial contents. To propose Shrek is not just like Persepolis. The latter film deserves the attention of the press and maybe the industry, and is a message not to neglect because, after which, outside of the competition, they will project the likes of Matrix Reloaded and The Da Vinci Code as in recent editions, for example.

A year after Shrek arrived at the Croisette, Michael Moore arrived with his trademark cap and the film Bowling for Columbine. On the other hand, Sicko is outside of the competition this year, but – as Mr. Moore said to the press — only because he did not wish to risk inflaming the wrath after another Golden Palm following the success that he achieved for Fahrenheit 9/11. However, it was he who opened the window and half-opened the door with his documentary Bowling for Columbine in 2002. And who knows which sort of response Sicko may have received in the competition by the judges? The documentary that Moore has customary given to us has to do with the investigation balanced with the entertainment value.

The animation and the documentary are genres that have grown more, in number, amount and critical consideration and by the public. So, if the cinema adapts to the times, this festival is not going to be outside of the future trends.