Festival du Film d’Animation d’Annecy 2024: Standing-Ovation for Michel Hazanavicius’ Latest Film!

The 2024 edition of the Annecy Animation Film Festival kicked off on Sunday, June 9th with a ceremony filled with announcements and a moving screening of the new project by Michel Hazanavicius.

The International Film Festival of Annecy 2024 began on Sunday, June 9th with an opening ceremony celebrating the creativity, diversity, and excellence of animation cinema. For its 48th edition, the festival offers screenings of over fifty films, around sixty short films, and approximately 100 programs. The president of CITIA (Cité de l’image en mouvement d’Annecy), Dominique Puthod, also announced the upcoming arrival of an Animation Cinema City by 2026, which will honor the genre throughout the year.

The opening ceremony concluded with the screening of Michel Hazanavicius’ latest film: « La Plus Précieuse des Marchandises. » This project, an adaptation of the eponymous tale by Jean-Claude Grumberg published in 2019 and winner of the Special Jury Prize of the Booksellers’ Prize, marks Hazanavicius’ first venture into animation. The film showcases his unique artistic style as he contributed to the pre-production drawings.

Started in 2019, « La Plus Précieuse des Marchandises » was meant to be completed a few years ago but was put on hold due to the 2020 pandemic. Despite facing budget and time constraints, the French director chose to prioritize his live-action film « Coupez! » before returning to this animated project. Hazanavicius emphasized the lengthy and challenging process of creating an animated film but expressed immense satisfaction in bringing such a project to life as a tribute.

A subtle parable of the Holocaust, the film follows the mundane life of a lumberjack and his wife in the Polish countryside, living in extreme poverty while waiting for the end of the war against the « heartless. » Their lives are completely altered when a baby is ejected from a train heading to Auschwitz in front of them.

Narrated by Jean-Louis Trintignant, « La Plus Précieuse des Marchandises » was the last project the actor participated in before his passing in June 2022. The film features exceptional performances from actors like Grégory Gadebois, Dominique Blanc, and Denis Podalydès. Presented at Cannes in the Official Competition in May, the film received the Positive Cinema Award for its strong themes of humanity and hope.

The screening ended with a standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes, marking a promising start for Michel Hazanavicius in the animation world. The film is set to hit theaters on November 20, 2024.