20th Animation Division Critiques
How We Engage With Films
In screening the entries, I found myself reminded at every turn just how versatile and fascinating the medium called animation is. The densely drawn your name. and the minimalist Boy and the World offer a particularly striking contrast as to what an animated film can be.The hit film your name. displays an extremely high degree of polish, with artwork more beautiful than live action, meticulously drawn movements, emotionally engaging music, and, above all, impeccably paced direction. I could quibble about "too much information," but all told, the work sets a new standard for animated films in Japan.By contrast, Boy and the World, which won the Grand Prix at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2014, is a work that makes a virtue of very little information, deploying it to maximum effect. The minimalism applies not just to the characters and artwork but to the speech, which is virtually nonexistent, meaning that the story unfolds without explanation. The film effectively leaves everything to the viewer's imagination right down to the end. Each viewer must fill in the extensive blanks with his or her own images. It's a film that makes us think about how we engage with films.Among the high-quality crop of television animations, Mob Psycho 100 and Owarimonogatari stood out to me for the freeness of their expression. I hope we'll see more works with this level of originality being made for the television medium.Among the short subjects, the range of emotions expressed by the star-crossed lovers in A Love Story merely through manipulating woolen yarn is truly wonderful. This is exactly what makes animation so special. Also, Peripheria, a Jury Selection that portrays the sadness of a deserted apartment complex where wild dogs roam, and Ticking Away, which condenses a watchmaker's life down to nine minutes, reaffirmed for me the remarkable ability of animated images to suggest so much more about what lies behind them.Finally, the Italian animated documentary Somalia94 - The Iliaria Alpi affair does a marvelous job of grappling with a serious world concern. I hope we'll see more submissions like this in the future.