Quite often in the midst of covering all the typical Hollywood fare, it becomes increasingly easy to forget the great content coming in from overseas — especially in the medium of animation. No doubt, we have some great animation from big studios like Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and the like, but the sheer breadth of content doesn’t really hold a candle to what they have in the Land of the Rising Sun.
While a good portion of the content is very culturally specific (and has little chance of catching on in a big way overseas), there are some animators there who manage to truly bridge Eastern and Western sensibilities. One of these animators is Mamoru Hosoda. He’s been in the business for a long time, and in that time, he’s made his mark directing such film as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and most recently, The Boy and the Beast (trailer above). It’s always interesting to track the trajectory of filmmakers and see what projects they head to next, and Hosoda is no exception. So what is his next project?
Variety reports that his next film is called Mirai (Future in English), and not only will it be another film producer under his own animation studio, Studio Chizu, but it is set to be presented at the Cannes Film Festival. However, given the film’s expected finish date of May 2018, it’s unclear if they plan on showing it there next year or in 2019 (our assumption is 2018).
Variety describes Mirai as follows:
“Mirai follows a 4-year old boy who is struggling to cope with the arrival of a little sister in the family, until things turn magical. A mysterious garden in the backyard of the boy’s home becomes a gateway allowing the child to travel back in time and encounter his mother as a little girl and his great-grandfather as a young man. These fantasy-filled adventures allow the child to change his perspective and help him become the big brother he was meant to be.”
The concepts of family and time are very common ones in Hosoda’s work. With regards to time, there are very clear similarities to something like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In regards to family, you can look back as early as his work on Digimon and the One Piece film Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, and you see very strong messages of family. With later films like Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and Boy and the Beast, that theme continues and strengthens.
Mirai seems to be a natural follow-up for the filmmaker, and a wonderful hybrid of things he’s been saying in his movies for years.
Here’s what Hosoda had to tell the outlet about Mirai and his trajectory as a filmmaker:
“There is a common thread in the themes of my films: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was about youth, Summer Wars was about family, Wolf Children Ame and Yuki was about motherhood. The Boy and The Beast was about the father, and my new film is about the relationship between brothers and sisters. Mirai is about a boy who is trying to reclaim the love of his parents.
“I always strive to make films that have a universal dimension in the choice of subjects and even the dialogue.”
This is very clearly a personal film to Hosoda, and if you need more convincing, you need look no further than the name, Mirai. Not only is it the name of the sister in the film, but it’s also the name of Hosoda’s daughter.
As a longtime admirer of his work, I am beyond excited to see how this one turns out. What do you think? Does Mirai sound like a film worth your time (no pun intended)? Let us know in the comments down below!
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