This Magnificent Cake!

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An official selection at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival, THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! (CE MAGNIFIQUE GÂTEAU!) is an unforgettable work of stopmotion animation exploring the bitter milieu of Belgium-occupied Congo. In the late 19th century, keen to compete with other European imperial powers on the continent, King Leopold II of Belgium proclaimed, “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.” The subsequent occupation of the Congo would come to attract a contingent of servants, merchants and miscellaneous bourgeois driven by everything from insatiable greed to existential fear. From the intimate stories of these characters — many of whom pass through a luxury hotel in the middle of the jungle – emerges a greater narrative concerning the imperialist mentality. In a film by turns surreal, darkly comic and brutal, directors Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef ultimately turn their critical gaze on the colonists themselves in a work of stunning, mysterious beauty.

*Disc and rights include debut short film by filmmakers Marc James Roels and Emma da Swaef, "Oh Willy!"


Director's Fortnight – Cannes 2018
Telluride Film Festival – 2018
TIFF – Special Jury Mention
Annecy Animation Film Festival
Animafest Zagreb – Best Feature Film Grand Prix
Clermont Ferrand Shorts Festival - National Grand Prize
Ottawa Animation Film Festival – Feature Grand Prix
Aspen ShortsFest - 2019


“Darkly funny—but surprising, sad, and shocking, too--this film is exquisite in every respect, from the fabrication of its worlds to the nuances of puppet performances. Among the greats of stop-motion history.”

- Prof. Maureen Furniss, Animation Historian and Program Director of Experimental Animation, CalArts

“One of the finest animation films of 2018.
An astonishing, sensitive and original stop-motion work that eschews time and subtly drifts between reality and illusion as it explores the crushed dreams and lives caused by the disastrous, brutal and inhuman effects of colonialism on both the innocent and the guilty, the good and the awful."

- Chris Robinson, Animation World Network

“An intriguing, disturbing film,
utterly unlike American studio animation”

- Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times

"This Magnificent Cakeis my favorite film of the year.

- Director Barry Jenkins