admin On marzo - 20 - 2013

Review by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

The French animation movie created by Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie, is inspired by the true story of 1826, when the first giraffe travelled from Alexandria to Paris.

France’s ambassador to Egypt came up with the idea of giving the little giraffe Zarafa as a present from the Pasha to King Charles X. The long-necked ruminant lived 18 years and has been preserved in the Museum of Natural History in La Rochelle.

In the film the little giraffe’s abduction, in Africa, is witnessed by the young boy Maki, who will pledge his life in making sure Zarafa is safe, throughout the epic journey the two share with their friends. The entire travelling adventure intertwines with an elderly African storyteller revealing the chronicle, to a wide-eyed audience of five or six children sitting in the dust of a village, amidst allegorical references.

The movie undoubtably recalls Jules Verne's stories, especially when Zarafa, Maki, Prince Hassan and two cows (who provide milky meals for Zarafa) board a hot-air balloon under the command of Malaterre and sail off to France like in ‘Around the World in 80 Days.’

The young audience target for this film won’t spare tears since the happy ending does not give utter satisfaction and along the way there are several violent episodes, one that blatantly recalls Bambi’s mother being killed. But there are also some very amusing situations, especially when “Giraffe-o-mania” breaks out in Paris and everyone wears yellow and brown giraffe design.

The artwork is rather mediocre but the music is very delightful. The composer Laurent Perez del Mar mingles oriental, Greek, operetta, and baroque genres as the characters move from Africa to France.



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