Educating and engaging the audience through entertainment – thy name is animation! This genre is largely loved by children for its vibrant colours, varying degrees of movement and simple themes or messages they can take to heart. But, at the same time, many of the greatest animation films of all time are geared toward more mature audiences.
The 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has in store a great mix of various genres of this film art form. This year IFFI will showcase five such films from various parts of the world in a specially curated animated segment, with stories that appeal both to children and adults.
1. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
This 2022 Japanese animation feature film has been adapted from short stories by the renowned writer Haruki Murakami. The film is aimed not only at the millions of Murakami fans around the world but also at those unfamiliar with the author.
The film explores how an earthquake and a giant frog help characters reveal “truths they’ve been hiding from themselves”. The stories are made up of memories, dreams and fantasies, influenced by individual visions of the earthquake, as the protagonists try to reconnect with who they really are.
2. My Love Affair with Marriage
This 2022 animation drama uses music and science to examine the biological chemistry of love and gender as well as the societal pressures on an individual to conform to social mores. It is a story of inner female rebellion where a young spirited woman called Zelma is determined to conform to the pressures of singing “Mythology Sirens” in order to be loved. The more she conforms, the more her body resists.
The film has already picked up two awards and six nominations at film festivals around the world. The creator Signe Baumane is a Latvian animator, artist, illustrator and writer, currently living and working in New York City. She has written, directed, designed and animated 16 shorts and two animated feature films.
3. The Island
This 2021 feature is a musical animation and a cross-genre film on the Robinson Crusoe myth with a Little Prince meets Monty Python sort of plot. Robinson is a doctor, and his solitude is voluntary on an island invaded by migrants, NGOs and guards.
He saves Friday, a castaway, the only survivor of his illegal refugee boat. During his journey on the island, Robinson encounters extraordinary beings and events. He will confront current affairs through visual poetry and symbolism in a world where everybody looks for their own paradise.
The creator, Romanian- born Anca Damian has worked as a director, screenwriter and producer for several documentaries on art-related topics. The Island is her seventh feature. Film composer and virtuoso musician Alexander Balanescu is a prolific Romanian-born composer and is considered one of the most visionary and exciting violinists of our times.
4. Dozens of Norths
This 2021 Japanese anime illustrates the aftermath of a catastrophe – the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The rich, dialogue-less vignettes depicting desolate and nightmarish landscapes that compose the film, elevate modern-day suffering caused by real-life events to a mythical and universal dimension, and the absurdities and tragedies of human existence are told with injections of hope.
Like the screen in a dark theatre, the film finds light even in the darkest of spaces. The creator is the much-acclaimed filmmaker Koji Yamamura, who is known for his numerous short-form works such as the Oscar-nominated Mt Head (2002).
This 2022 film reinvents the classic tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto. This whimsical, stop-motion film directed by Academy Award-winning Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world.