15th Animation Division Excellence Award
A Letter to Momo
Animated feature film [Japan]
Leaving a letter on which he had written only “Dear Momo,” Momo’s father passes away. “What did you really want to write?” Momo, who had hurled thoughtless words towards her father and had not made up with him before he died, moves to an island in the Seto Inland Sea with her mother Ikuko, with this thought still on her mind. There she meets “The Protectors,” a group of mysterious spirits. It turns out that these gluttonous and egocentric, yet very charming spirits have an important mission to carry out. Set on a little island in the Seto Inland Sea, this is a tale of family love that depicts the mysterious events that happen to the heroine, Momo.
Reason for Award
The love of a family depicted by leading Japanese animators
This is an animated film in the realistic style that Japan has developed over many years. That realism is applied here, in a work of the highest quality, to the various fantasies that inhabit our everyday lives. Through the control of deformation and the use of characters that appear to be made of flesh and bone, an uncanny world in which ghosts create various forms of commotion amid the familiar world of the Inland Sea is made to feel plausible and real. The humor of the ghosts and the hard-to-describe intricacies of the human emotions, such as the main character’s grief over her dead father and the controlled love of her mother, are supported by each and every meticulously drawn and laid-out cell. This original story by OKIURA Hiroyuki, who wrote, scripted, and directed the film, appeals to a broad audience. The fact that the film directly links that charm and emotion to “a Japan that was rebuilt by moving pictures” is truly precious. This is a film that reminds us once again of the power and potential of animation as a form of expression.