Inspired by the true story of the first giraffe to visit France, Zarafa is a sumptuously hand-animated and stirring adventure set among sweeping vistas of parched desert, windswept mountains and open skies. Under the cover of night a small boy, Maki, loosens the shackles that bind him and escapes into the desert night. Pursued by slavers across the moon-lit savannah, Maki meets Zarafa, a baby giraffe – and an orphan, just like him - and he vows to protect the giraffe. Wandering alone in the desert, the two are taken under the protection of the Bedouin prince Hassan. Hassan brings them to Alexandria for an audience with the Pasha of Egypt, who promptly orders them to deliver the exotic animal as a gift to King Charles of France. 

And so Maki, Zarafa and Hassan take off with the aerialist Malaterre in a hot-air balloon across the Mediterranean – an unbelievably beautiful ride through the pink-skied, honey-hued expanses of Northern Africa, the bustling port of Marseilles, and over the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. Along the way they encounter hungry wolves, Greek pirates and raging blizzards, arriving at last in Paris to present the giraffe to King Charles. The unimpressed French monarch (portrayed as a laughable, pasty-faced inbred by the same character designer as The Triplets of Belleville) indifferently accepts the gift, but Maki is determined to return Zarafa back to his rightful home in Africa.

View trailer here

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