Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Looking forward: Sakasama no Patema

I don’t watch much anime, but I do try to follow the career of director Yoshiura Yasuhiro. He created the series Time of Eve, which I loved, and most recently he’s been working on a film to be released later this year.

There's a lengthy teaser (four six minutes excerpts from the film) and it serves as an excellent introduction to the themes of the film. A colony of people live underground in a claustrophobic den of tunnels and rooms. There they look for food in long-since abandoned parts of the colony, and they daren't go outside. Then, one day, a girl is exploring in one of the forbidden areas when she is attacked by someone who can walk on ceilings. In fact, who can ONLY walk on ceilings.

And this is the basic premise of the story: two societies (one underground, one above ground) have different senses of gravity. One falls down, the other falls up. When the two meet... well, that's when the teaser ends.

It's an enticing idea, and I'm already impatient to see what happens next. The film revisits a previous theme of Yoshiura Yasuhiro work: The cramped living conditions and dreams of a better world can also be found in his short film Pale Cocoon.

Pale Cocoon

However, this feature film loses Pale Cocoon's bleak world view and replaces it with more acceptable themes of friendship and understanding. But despite this more commercial feel, and it's simple idea, the style of the film (so far) is excellent. I'm especially impressed with the way that the sky can suddenly seem so threatening – an endless pit into which you could fall.

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