By Emmanuel Akitobi | Shadow and Act January 28, 2012 at 9:01AM
The highly anticipated film adaptation of Ivory Coast-born/France-based author Marguerite Abouet's popular graphic novel series, Aya de Yopougon (Aya of Yop City), won't be released in French theatres until May. However, in February, S&A readers can see writer/director Rémi Bezançon's Zarafa when it opens in France, and premieres at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
Abouet's Aya de Yopougon series, which is illustrated by her husband, Clément Oubrerie, is a global phenomenon that has been translated into numerous languages around the world. The film's premise is as follows:
"Welcome to Yopougon, a working-class neighborhood of Abidjan in the late 70s, renamed Yop City – to sound like an American movie ! This is home to Aya and her two friends, Adjoua and Bintou. The're 19-years-old, a time in your life when everything seems possible. But while Aya would like to become a doctor one day, her friends are more into nightclubbing at the local "maquis" and hunting for a husband. Around this dynamic trio, we cross characters with diverse destinies like Ignace, Aya's runaround father who juggles several "offices", and Moussa, the son of the powerful Bonaventure Sissoko who counts on his Toyota to pick up girls. There's also Fanta and Koro, the mothers who try to protect their daughters. Or Grégoire, the "Parisian" who blows his cash at the famous hotel Ivoire.
A true chorale comedy, Aya of Yop City is a chronicle of an unexpected Africa, modern and urban."
Also being released this year is Rémi Bezançon's Zarafa, as part of the line-up at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival (Feb. 09 - 19). The film will be in theatres in France that same week.
Here's the synopisis for Zarafa:
"Under a baobab tree, an old man tells a story to the children around him: the story of the everlasting friendship between Maki, a little boy aged 10, and Zarafa, an orphaned giraffe, a gift from the Pasha of Egypt to th King of France, Charles X. Hassan, Prince of the Desert, is instructed by the Pasha to deliver Zarafa to France. But Maki has made up his mind to do everything in his power to stop Hassan from fulfilling his mission and to bring the giraffe back to its native land – even if it means risking his own life – because he must fulfill his promise to Zarafa’s late mother. During an epic journey that takes them from Sudan to Paris, passing on the way through Alexandria, Marseille and the snow-capped Alps, they have many adventures, crossing paths with the aviator Malaterre, a pair of unusual twin cows called Mounh and Sounh, and the pirate queen Bouboulina."
And here's the trailer: