90 Movies in 90 Days: This Magnificent Cake! (2018

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: This Magnificent Cake!
Release Date: 14 May 2018
Director: Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels
Production Company: Beast Animation | Vivement Lundi | Pedri Animation

In the 19th-century, the European powers sliced up the African continent as if it were a cake. King Leopold II of Belgium decided that he needed a piece as well.  This film depicts the effects of colonization through fabric-based stop-motion animation and is told in five interconnected vignettes.  The movie is darkly satirical and has a dreamlike quality.  The dehumanizing effect of colonization on the colonizers is told in the stories of some Belgians who tried their luck in the Congo and are all grotesques in one way or another.

Surprisingly there are very few African characters in this movie, with just one part focusing on a Pygmy man who is made to work as a human ashtray holder at a hotel.  All of the African characters in this movie die in horrible ways. On the one hand that their deaths are the unintended consequences of the carelessness of white people who are indifferent to the suffering they cause is telling.  But it also comes across as really grim slapstick comedy.

Regardless of intent, this is an unsettling movie about the crimes of the not so distant past.  I’m also going to see that snail in a toupee in my nightmares.

Rating: ***

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