Guardian’s Steve Bell on French politicians and poetry

Cartoon of former French President Francois Hollande naked in bed except for a motorcycle helmet

With savage depictions of Theresa May as a ‘scary clown’ in leopard print shoes, or Donald Trump with a toilet-shaped head, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell is famous for his caustic take on politics. 

France has given him plenty of in­spi­­­ration too. Oliver Rowland spoke to him during his first French exhibition, at Rouen’s Hôtel de Ville, which tied in with him being a judge in the annual This is England short films festival

How did you get involved with the festival?

Olivier Auvray, a retired English teacher [and part of Rouen-Norwich Club twinning body, which runs the festival] got in touch years ago as he’d been using my cartoons in his lessons, which was great – I was chuffed he was doing that. He used them as teaching aids to help them learn about the absurdities of English.

He used to come to England with lycée students on school trips and he would bring a group to see me work – it was an annual event for a long time.

What did the kids make of your cartoons?

I was never too sure, but one of the nice things about cartoons is you can appreciate them on different levels – they can be ...

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