This Magnificent Cake!  

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“We must be careful, skillful and ready to act…[to] get us a slice of this magnificent African cake” --Leopold II of Belgium cited in Divide and Rule: The Partition of Africa, 1880-1914 (1991) by Hans Wesselling, page 71

"Borrowing its title from King Leopold II's expressed wish for a piece of 'this magnificent cake' of fertile African territories (call me Congo), the mildly hypnotic but still soberly made stop-motion film unfolds 5 different character and stories. Unlike other anthology films, where a frame narrative is sought, here the film it places them in the manner of Max Ophüls La Ronde (1950): reappearing characters with flawed sensitivities light up the scenery of both palaces and reassuring nature as a last resort of humanity."[1]

"“I don’t really remember how or when we came up with the idea,” says Roels, “but I do remember both of us really getting into Journey to the End of the Night by Céline and being inspired by that."[2]

"Troela, troela, troelala "

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Ce magnifique gâteau ! (2018, English title: This Magnificent Cake!) is a European animation film written and directed by Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef. It is cloth/fabric stop-motion film. The title is based on a dictum by Leopold II of Belgium recorded in a letter in which he remarked eagerly that he wanted his share of "this magnificent African cake".



It is an anthology film set in colonial Africa in the late 19th century telling the stories of five different characters: a troubled king (who has a bad dream featuring the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken and wets himself), a middle-aged Pygmy working in a luxury hotel as an ashtray, a failed businessman on an expedition who stole the fortune of his family which subsequently went bankrupt, a lost porter and a young army deserter, and a clarinetist who is forbidden by the king to play his cuckoo notes in "The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods".


Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gustav Holst, Charles Ives


"Comprised of the interrelated stories of five unforgettable characters, this stop-motion animated marvel uses the history of the Belgian Congo in the 19th century as a wool-covered springboard (literally) for a bold, surreal, and sometimes horrific study of European colonialism's hidden pathologies, blind ambitions, and capacity for cruelty."

Fiche technique



Il remporte le Prix André-Martin pour un court métrage français à l'édition 2018 du festival international du film d'animation d'Annecy.

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