Singing beauty on a virtual stage. The movie Belle shows the power of contemporary Japanese animation – Czech TV – Czech TV

Suzu Naito, 17, will one day join virtual real estate app “U”, where she will soon become a music celebrity, Photo: Studio Chizu

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year Beautiful he received a fourteen-minute standing ovation. Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (*1967) is such a global star in his field that his new works regularly appear in Czech film distribution – as practically the only anime we can see on our screens. His previous photo Mirai, the girl from the future it even had decent sales in the country, which could also be due to the fact that it was aimed specifically at children and made with a Czech dub. Beautiful on the other hand, it is mainly aimed at teenagers and young adults, it is sung a lot and is only broadcast in Japanese.

Thanks to such works, Mamoru Hosoda became one of the greatest hitmakers of his native country. His films regularly appear in the charts of the most successful films of the year. Although he is not a creator with a distinctive style, like Satoši Kon or Kacuhiro Ótomo, his stories tend to be a free-flowing spectacle enjoyed by viewers, in which the real world is usually mixed with some imaginary realm.

IN Beautiful is this shared virtual reality parallel reality, a cyberspace reminiscent of a famous novel and movie Loan player one – except that in Beautiful the connection between the real body and the virtual body is even closer. The main heroine Suzu is an ordinary high school girl in the real world suffering from the trauma of her mother’s death. In a virtual environment called U, however, she transforms into a popular singer with the nickname Belle. One day, her concert will be disrupted by a mysterious virtual renegade called the Dragon or the Beast, who has fascinated Suzu ever since.

Movie trailer, Source: YouTube

Unlike the bedroom Mirai, the girl from the future to Beautiful pours into many parallel storylines and themes. In the U environment, the film comes up against issues related to current social networks – for example, the virtual identities that we create for ourselves on the web, or the swarms of comments that immediately surround each slightly more significant event evoked from the mourning the deceased mother. The character of the Animal brings the motif of domestic violence and the emotional wounds it causes. Because of the forest, the “great subjects of the present” can Beautiful act as an important film today – but for the plethora of motifs, there simply can’t be space for any of these themes to develop properly. Especially when the core is essentially a young adult fantasy, in which problems are usually solved by simple emotional catharsis.

The real reasons why Beautiful clap, while not exactly fourteen minutes long, is actually off its plot. Hosoda originally wanted to take the film as a musical and was also inspired by the American Disney The beauty and the Beast. However, this genre does not have a very long tradition in Japanese animation, so it ended with a work in which there are no explicitly musical numbers, but the character’s singing and visual musical style. principal play an indispensable role here. The U environment mixes virtual reality, which is full of various avatars, and musically designed decor – this is obviously true for the castle in which the Animal lives, but also for the vast spaces where Belle sings, which resemble vast scenes. Thanks to that Beautiful fundamentally different from the old Hosod film summer warwhich also partly took place in virtual reality.

cinema screen Beautifulsource: Studio Chizu

Visual Beautiful he is enchantingly maximalist in both worlds. In our environment, Mamoru Hosoda is awash with a jumble of characters and scenery, among which the heroes move about, creating an impression of overwhelming and organic chaos, which tops the famous scene of the dream creatures walking from the famous anime. Pepper by Satosi Kon. Although real-world characters are in Beautiful relatively simply drawn, even here the environments are maniacal. The forested mountain, the classroom or the train station where the heroes meet are released with hyperrealism taken care of in every detail. That’s why it pays Beautiful head to the cinema and enjoy a visual orgy on the big screen.

Hosod’s novelty is definitely not a groundbreaking act in Japanese anime. It doesn’t discover anything new, but it can perfectly draw on the strengths of Japanese commercial animation, which can continue to be a solid alternative to American family animated films.

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One of the American versions of the movie poster, source: Studio Chizu

Beautiful (Japan, 2021, footage 122 minutes)

Director and screenplay: Mamoru Hosoda, the music: Taisei Iwasaki, Ludvig Forssell, Juta Bandó. With : Takeru Sato, Kaho Nakamura, Ikura, Shota Sometani, Ryo Narita, Tina Tamashiro, Kodzi Yakusho, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yoshimi Iwasaki, Kenjiro Cuda and others.

Czech premiere March 24, 2022

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