Cannes animation lineup: "Belle", "Where is Anne Frank", "Top of the Gods"

Cannes, the world's most prestigious film festival, is back after a break (no event was held last year, as Covid spread). Animation is never abundant in its program, but the festival does tend to host a few high-profile premieres each year. So it has proved at this edition, which runs July 6–17 in the French city.

Below are the three animated features in the official selection, along with one documentary about animation. Belle, a late addition to the program, will play in the brand-new Premiere section. None of these films are in contention for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize.

Director: Mamoru HosodaSection: Cannes Premiere

A teenage girl joins the vast virtual world of U, where she assumes the identity of a pop star, in the latest from anime auteur Hosoda (Mirai). The all-star creative team includes veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim and Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart. GKIDS will release the film in North America this winter.

Director: Ari FolmanSection: Out of Competition

Best known for his Oscar-nominated animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, Folman last released a film in 2013: the hybrid sci-fi freak-out The Congress. That same year, he announced his follow-up project, which is finally ready. Where Is Anne Frank retells the story of the young Holocaust victim, focusing on the period after she was captured by the Nazis and separated from the diary that would make her posthumously famous.

Director: Patrick ImbertSection: Le Cinema de la Plage

This ambitious European project adapts a 1,000-page work by renowned manga artist Jiro Taniguchi, who gave the project his blessing before dying in 2017. The film, helmed by veteran animator Patrick Imbert (Ernest & Celestine) in his feature directorial debut, tells the tale of a climber's attempt to scale Everest's south-west face. What we've seen of it was special.

Cannes will also host the world premiere of Satoshi Kon, The Illusionist as part of its Classics section. The Franco-Japanese documentary profiles the late director of anime classics like Perfect Blue and Paprika, drawing on interviews with collaborators and other filmmakers, including Hosoda and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Rodney Rothman.

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