Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

2006, Japan, directed by Mamoru Hosoda

I'm not all that familiar with the conventions of anime, so it was useful to have a pre-screening introduction from two local academics - MIT's Ian Condry and Susan Napier from Tufts - in order to get a few pointers. They both focused on the inspiration behind many anime films, as well as the kinds of characters seen in anime - young woman endowed with unusual powers, for instance, as seen in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. As useful as that scene-setting was, I wouldn't have minded hearing something about the aesthetics of anime too, and particularly the apparent "disconnect" between the fairly simple character drawings and the often beautifully complex backgrounds (there are several excellent montage sequences where the animators really get to show their artistic skill, and I love the repeated images of the city skyline, as in the above still, in which traffic inches along the highway). Equally striking are director Mamoru Hosoda's assured shifts in tone - from tense sequences with cross-cutting action to very amusing exploitations of the film's time-shifting plotline to a poignant conclusion.

(The only downside with the screening was the fact that the white subtitles were almost invisible against pale backgrounds - a particular problem given that many conversation scenes took place on a dusty baseball diamond).

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States