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Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

This Magnificent Cake!


2018, Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef, Belgium/France, 45 min.

Show Times

  • Fri, Apr 12th 4:15pm
  • Fri, Apr 12th 6:30pm
  • Sat, Apr 13th 2:00pm
  • Sat, Apr 13th 8:15pm
  • Sun, Apr 14th 5:15pm
  • Mon, Apr 15th 6:00pm
  • Tue, Apr 16th 8:15pm
  • Wed, Apr 17th 6:15pm
  • Thu, Apr 18th 8:15pm
First Chicago run!

"My favorite film of the year."-- Barry Jenkins, director of MOONLIGHT and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

"An intriguing, disturbing film, utterly unlike American studio animation."--Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times

Enchanting and unsettling in equal measure, this unique animation takes its title from King Leopold II of Belgium's declared desire to get "a slice of this magnificent African cake." His wish came true with the brutally genocidal colonization of the Belgian Congo. Like many of the most effective artistic treatments of massive atrocity, THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! approaches its subject obliquely and in miniature. Five overlapping and loosely connected vignettes-- involving the King himself, a hapless clarinetist, a pygmy servant in a colonial hotel, an absconding embezzler, and an unfortunate porter--delineate, with barbed humor and muted surrealism, the petty acts of thoughtlessness and self-absorption that provide the scaffolding upon which larger, unshown horrors are erected. The filmmakers' stop-motion animation style evokes Jiří Trnka and the Quay Bros., but their use of felt and fabric for both puppets and landscapes gives their creations a uniquely tactile and textural dimension whose toy-box quality effectively counterpoints the gravity of the subject matter. In French, Dutch, Aka, and Manika with English subtitles.

Preceded by Roels and de Swaef's award-winning 2012 sensation OH WILLY… (17 min., no dialogue), in which a man finds an unexpected replacement for his deceased nudist mother; and THE BURDEN (15 min., Swedish with English subtitles), Niki Lindroth von Bahr's drolly morose Swedish musical about the inner lives of night-shift workers, previously screened in THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS. All in DCP digital. Note: These films are appropriate for mature children only. (MR)

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