Marcel Barelli. Defend animals on paper and in film.

Marcel Barelli, illustrator and director of animated films, published a book and a short film in succession. This 37-year-old man from Ticino, living in Geneva, has just released “Disenchanted Bestiary” (EPFL Press), a collection of 50 drawings that question our relationship with animals while his latest short film that “Autosaurus Rex” is touring festivals. after the first one this summer in Annecy.

His penultimate short, “Into the Wild” (2021), which looks at homosexuality in the animal kingdom, is the one that has garnered the most interest so far. (archived)


The film “Autosaurus Rex” (2022) “deals with our relationship with the car. I decided to make it like an animal documentary, filming the car as if it were an animal species,” he explained to Keystone-ATS. The narrator and designer of the cars is none other than the young son of Marcel Barelli.

His penultimate short, “Into the Wild” (2021), which looks at homosexuality in the animal kingdom, is the one that has garnered the most interest so far: “It has toured 250 festivals and won around fifty prizes,” he says.

It even received the Swiss cinema prize this year in the “best animated film” category. Thanks to a French publisher, “De la nature” will be available as a children’s book from next April.

The most intriguing thing about this author is that he did not immediately intend to work as an artist. Young Barelli spent his childhood in Lodrino, a Ticino village, located between Bellinzona and Biasca. Unable to find work after an apprenticeship as a laboratory assistant in chemistry, he enrolled, pushed by his mother, in the faculty of cinema at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD).

Because of the animal

It was there that he discovered animation. “Gradually, I understood that it was possible to carry out more personal and artisanal projects than the ones I was used to seeing in the cinema,” he said. Often, and wrongly according to him, we think that cartoons are only intended for children.

“The chosen form is secondary for me, continued the director. I choose topical topics, often related to the environment. He is fascinated by the interactions between humans and other species and the consequences of our way of life.

Almost 10 years ago, “Vigia” (2013) won him the Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. In this short film, he tells his grandfather in a Ticino dialect about the fate of bees, which are constantly threatened by human activity.

Marcel Barelli does not limit himself to films as he has just published his second illustration book this autumn, “Disenchanted Bestiary”, where “each page speaks of a relationship that people have with other species”.

Soon a feature film

The author made a name for himself in the publishing world two years ago in 2020 with the publication of his “Swiss Bestiary” (EPFL Press), a 432-page book in which he drew 413 wild species. of vertebrates in Switzerland, listed. of the Federal Office for the Environment. And almost half of it is threatened with extinction.

Before this first book, the young author already had a dozen animated films to his credit. Without forgetting drawings for magazines, exhibitions as well as scenographies for operas.

In cinema, the adopted Genevan does not intend to limit himself to short films and is working on a first long fiction, “Mary Anning”, which is scheduled to be released in two years. The story, set in the 1900s, “narrates the twelfth year of the life of history’s first paleontologist”. A woman who “had to fight to uphold what she believed in. “It certainly reflects current concerns,” he added.

Comic fans can meet the director on Sunday in Lausanne on the occasion of a special program made by BDFIL for Halloween. Around thirty signing artists paraded in the Espace Amaretto, where conferences, creative workshops, readings and musical entertainment were programmed.

drink, etc

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