Animation, Historical | France | 2015 | 82 min
French (English Subtitles) | For 12 years of age and older
By Simon Rouby
Twelve-year-old Adama lives in a remote village in Western Africa. Beyond the cliffs, the World of Breaths can be found, where the Nassaras reign. One night, Samba, his older brother, disappears. Defying the laws of the elders, Adama decides to set out to find him. With the unwavering determination of a child becoming a man, he launches into a quest that will take him beyond the seas, northward, to the front lines of World War One, in 1916.
A splendidly original and enthralling French animated feature.
– Cartoon Brew
The directing of Adama is simply phenomenal. Rouby applied an old school type of animation to his film, combining a series of still images with a magnificent soundtrack and creating innovative visuals. (…) Adama is a heartfelt tribute to humanity as well as a reminder of what we can be and all that we can accomplish. It is an emotional journey – an innocent but honest adventure. It is very well paced and very well put together.
The digital imaging, combined with the skilful clay sculpting by Michel Lauricella,, gives these characters a sharp yet jerky appearance, one that’s lifelike without trying to be photorealistic. By the time we, and Adama, get to Verdun, and start seeing bombs, horrific injuries and lethal gas, the adults and teenagers in the room will definitely know that this storyworld is partly a fantasy, but one that rings true on an emotional level. Young children may not necessarily find the story as fanciful, in fact this may well be the most intense film they will have ever seen, but the animation is certainly a good cue for them not to take this at face value. Whilst they will surely identify with Adama, share his frustration with the adults in his life, feel the urgency of his quest and be just as afraid of its many dangers, I think they will also have a sense that everything is going to be alright in the end. They’ll recognise staple kids film characters, like the streetwise sidekick, the eccentric wise old homeless man who is vaguely magical (Pascal N’Zonzi), and that one stuffy grownup that eventually comes around to helping our young hero (Oxmo Puccino, who also writes and performs a beautiful piece of slam poetry that is heard during the end credits). Together, all of them will reassure younger viewers that this is a fable, one where courage and kindness are rewarded, war or no war.
– Australian Centre for the Moving Image
French Film Festival UK (Great Britain, 2018)
New Zealand French Film Festival Aotearoa (2017)
Tübingen-Stuttgart International French-language Film Festival (Germany, 2017)
Filmfest Hamburg - Hamburg International Film Festival (Germany, 2016)
Melbourne International Film Festival
Istanbul Film Festival (Turkey, 2016)
TAAF (Japan, 2016)
Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2016)
Chicago International Film Festival (2015)
Lisbon - French Film Festival (Portugal, 2015)
BFI London Film Festival (2015)
Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (Belgium, 2015)
BIFF (South Korea, 2015)
San Sebastian International Film Festival
Ottawa International Animation Festival (2015)
Montreal World Film Festival (2015)
Annecy International Animation Film Festival (France, 2015)