Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels

Belgium, France, Netherlands, 2018 / 44 min / Original English, French and Dutch version with English subtitles (EN, FR & NL OV with EN subt.) / History, Animation, Comedy, Drama

A tragicomic stop-motion masterpiece set in colonial Africa.

This Magnificent Cake! is a stop-motion anthology that takes a surreal look at the legacy of European imperialism through five interwoven stories: a troubled king, a middle-aged Pygmy working in a luxury hotel, a failed businessman on an expedition, a lost porter and a young army deserter are all trying to find their place in Belgian Congo. A dissection of 19th century colonialism as you’ve never seen it before, using wool, felt and puppets.

“I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.” King Leopold II of Belgium


Sat 16/03 14:00 Ciné Utopia EN, FR & NL OV with EN subt. Public

“At 44 minutes in length, and boasting production values and storycraft that could put many a feature film to shame, This Magnificent Cake! (Ce magnifique gâteau !) is an extraordinary work. In five inter-connected chapters thematically and tonally reminiscent of the work of Roy Andersson and Miguel Gomes, Belgian filmmakers Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels craft a tragi-comic stop-motion masterpiece. […] It seduces us with laughter before puncturing the joke every time with a sly reminder of the fundamental absurdity of our mortality.” Catherine Bray & Jake Cunningham, Sight & Sound, 25/05/2018

  • Best Direction in an Animated Short Film, European Animation Award, 2018 (France)
  • André-Martin Award for Best French Short Film, Annecy International Animated Film Festival, 2018 (France)
  • Honourable Mention – Short Cuty Award for Best International Short Film, Toronto International Film Festival, 2018 (Canada)
Cast & Credits
Jan Decleir, Gaston Motambe, Wim Willaert, Goua Grovogui, Sébastien Dewaele, Angelo Tijssens
Marc James Roels, Emma De Swaef
Marc James Roels
Bram Meindersma
Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels, Jean-Marc Ogier
Beast Animation
Vivement Lundi !, Pedri Animation
Beast Animation
Iris Alexandre, Andreas de Ridder, Mirjam Plettinx, Elodie Ponçon, Patricia Sourdes

Emma De Swaef, born in 1985 in Ghent, Belgium, is a director specialising in stop-motion animation and puppet construction. She studied documentary filmmaking at the Saint-Lukas Academy in Brussels where she decided to put her knitting, arts and craft skills to use in her stop-motion graduation film Soft Plants (2008). In 2011 she directed her first professional stop-motion film with her partner and filmmaker Marc James Roels, Oh Willy… (2012). The film went on to win 80 international awards, including the Cartoon d’Or for Best European short in Brussels, and was nominated for a César. Marc James Roels was born in 1978 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He lives in Belgium where he works as animation film director after studying animation at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. He has worked on several live action short films which have each garnered several international awards and nominations, including at Berlin Film Festival and Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Oh Willy… was his first animated short. Together, they spent six years working on This Magnificent Cake!

  • Emma De Swaef
  • 2018 – Ce magnifique gâteau !
  • 2012 – Oh Willy… (short)
  • 2008 – Zachte Planten (short)
  • Marc James Roels
  • 2018 – Ce magnifique gâteau !
  • 2014 – Fight! (short)
  • 2012 – Oh Willy… (short)
  • 2009 – A Gentle Creature (short)
  • 2007 – Mompelaar (short)