Sarcastic and infantile, Donato Sansone playfully skewers the leading newsmakers of the time in a viscerally funny and satirical diary of his own crude sense of humor. Part of the series “Dessine toujours” launched by Canal+ in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Journal Animé, is an the equivalent of an animated yawp, a work defiant against those who would censor free expression, whether from a fundamentalist perspective, or a PC one.
Sansone is an inspired choice for Canal+. I first encountered his work 5 years ago with the exquisitely creepy Topo Glassato Al Cioccolato, and have been a fan since. Experimentally minded, the animator’s films have been lauded at festivals around the world, but his lurid fixations verge on sexist and thus have been controversial. Charlie Hebdo is a publication of controversy too though, and it doesn’t make sense to stand up for uncomfortable speech by way of vanilla, feel-good platitudes. Sansone’s id-driven output speaks to the juvenile spirit of rebellion that Charlie is so well known for, making the pairing of artist and project a good fit.
While deliberately non-narrative, there is something of an arc to the film, most notably through the timing of its creation. Produced over a 2 month period from Sept 15th, to Nov 15th 2015, the film draws to a close with the dramatic newspaper covers that mourn the Nov. 13th Paris Terror Attacks, which took the lives of 130 victims. Thus a film made in reaction to terror, is sadly closed by it too, and the attendant fear and destabilization makes the fuck-all cynicism of the piece less an arch pose, and more a fervent wish.