Spanish illustrator Josep Bartolí fought fascists during the Spanish Civil War, survived brutal French concentration camps, and eventually relocated to Mexico where he had an affair with Frida Kahlo. An eventful life worthy of a film, then: but French political cartoonist Aurélien Froment– better known in his artistic nom de guerre of Aurel– has delivered something much more creative and affecting than a run-of-the-mill biopic. Blending Bartolí’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful drawings into his own dynamic animation, first-time feature filmmaker Aurel delivers a film which serves as a condemnation of state-sanctioned violence against refugees: the sadistic camp Bartolí passed through in 1939 could pass for any of its successors in the here and now. More importantly, Josep offers a celebration of the reality-depicting and redemptive power of art, and also its transcendent qualities, with Aurel depicting both Bartolí’s struggle in France and his liberated life in Mexico in the most moving of ways.
Sergi López, Valérie Lemercier, David Marsais
French, Catalan, Spanish, English