From The Distrib Films Collection

Directed by Aurel

74 minutes / Color
French; Spanish / English subtitles
Release: 2021
Copyright: 2020

film poster

During the Spanish civil war, Republican fighters fleeing Franco's dictatorship are imprisoned in concentration camps once they arrive in France. Forced to live in appalling conditions, these refugees barely have access to hygiene, water and food. Josep tells the story of how Josep Bartolí, an artist born in Barcelona and Serge, a sympathetic French camp guard, become friends after Serge slips him some paper to use for his art.

An official selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Josep is the first film from award-winning cartoonist, Aurel. Thoughtful and beautifully animated, Josep depicts an unlikely friendship, an appearance from Frida Kahlo and lives that last decades and span continents.

“The powerful saga of an unlikely friendship. A harsh history lesson as well as a good yarn, this visually arresting endeavour registers strongly at a time when refugees account for a record one percent of the world’s population.” —Screen Daily

“Emphasising the saving power of art and of the spirit of resistance within a hostile environment, Josep echoes the words of its protagonist perfectly: “beautiful ideas, if they do not meet a beautiful person, they become death.” —Cineuropa

“It's a delicate, thoughtful film, moving and real." —The Guardian

“It is a multi-layered and hugely effective set-up for a story: part tale of friendship, part artist biography, and part much-needed history lesson.” —Fiction Machine

“[A] timely tribute from one cartoonist to another.” —The New York Times

“An evocative portrayal of art and war.” —Hollywood Reporter

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Select Accolades

  • Cannes Film Festival 2020
  • Best European Animated Feature Film Award, European Film Award 2020
  • Best Animated Film, Cesar Awards 2020
  • Critics Award, French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 2021
  • Special Mention, Best Animated Film, Stuttgart International Trickfilm Festival 2021
  • Best Director, Valladolid International Film Festival 2020


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