Animation has been put to good documentary use lately. Here for example, relating in a small portion to the horrors of the Angolan War. It has echoes of ‘Waltz with Bashir’ in its combination of the comic illustration aesthetic with a heightened attention to realism.
Directors Raul De La Fuente and Damian Nenow take the idea a step further, blending the animated segments with actual footage of some of those involved, returning to the country and recalling what happened in the present day. These elements don't exist as separate regimented entities as they might in most films, but bleed into one another at surprising moments, generating heightened emotions, underlining chaos and acting as a constant reminder that these events are firmly rooted in truth. The year is 1975, and the storytelling concise. As the Portuguese colonial rule comes to an end, Angola becomes a "Cold War chessboard" with the US and Russia among others backing various factions. The motion-captured animated Kapuscinski (voiced by Kerry Shale) is drawn with a muscularity that matches his sense of determination to head to the south of the country to report on the action at the front and, in particular, to try to meet the Portuguese-turned-rebel-leader Farrusco (Youssef Kerkour). Everything in the country may be "confusao" but the directors have tight control of the subject matter, immersing us fully in Kapuscinski's world before taking us on his road trip with fellow journalist Artur (Daniel Flynn). Visually, the film is rarely less than spectacular, using 3D CGI techniques to create multi-layered, persuasively fluid and crisply detailed motion capture-based imagery: Whether it’s taking in sweeping aerial shots or the flies buzzing around a dead body in the road, it’s redolent of ‘Waltz With Bashir’ in its combination of the comic illustration aesthetic with a heightened attention to realism. Premiered at Cannes 2018. (Subtitles)
Poland/Spain 2018 Raúl de la Fuente, Damian Nenow 85m