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Last updated on February 23, 2023

A film by Makoto Shinkai

With Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu, Shota Sometani, Sairi Ito

Suzume, 17, lost her mother as a little girl. On her way to school, she meets a mysterious young man. But her curiosity unleashes a calamity that endangers the entire population of Japan, and so Suzume embarks on a journey to set things right.

Our review: *(*)

This animated feature film certainly lacks neither imagination nor ambition. Technically speaking, the marriage between the drawings in the purest 2D manga style and the 3D textures gives us something luxuriant and rather pretty, totally assuming the kitsch that this overflow can sometimes evoke to some. This abundance is directly in line with Myazaki who gives a large place to nature, or even – and the word kitsch takes here all its meaning – in that of Cameron … The disturbing part of the case is therefore in this rather naive and abusive use of symbols of beauty to aim at beauty, but let’s not start a debate here that a film like Art College 1994 – the other animated film in competition – raises in 2 hours. But the technique is not everything – by definition the whole assembles all the components, the technique is only one among many others. The scenario, for example, even if we are rather of the school to think that it is not as essential an element as Steven Spielberg affirms, when asked the question of the advice he would give to young filmmakers – even if he is not totally wrong – of Suzume has some nice qualities: a certain art of surprise, a rather uncommon imagination and indeed a particular universe – a quality shared there too with Myazaki and the Ghibli studios – but also a rather strong inscription in the Japanese culture, its legends but also its present, a distant look at this one, a step back and an astonishing humor which is addressed here to the adults, or even a questioning of these or on the contrary of those who question them (one of the characters holders of the ultimate key of the mystery is thus treated in psychiatry! ). But these qualities are not everything, it is necessary to be able to hold the distance. And the bottom hurts here. Once its pretty opening session all in surprise is introduced, once the main quest is unveiled, the story goes totally astray in wanting to multiply the main motif without ever reinventing it or deploying it under an angle that is worth bouncing. The action takes over, the characters in motion repeat the same gesture tirelessly, and although time seems to want to accelerate in the narration, the action becoming more and more lively, the opposite effect occurs for the spectator who gets bored and will have to wait patiently for the final denouement before finding again what made the charm of the opening part. Moreover, if the kitsch of the image is easily assumed and will undoubtedly speak to children as well as adults, it is difficult to say the same thing about the sound universe, certainly kawai, but above all so underlined in the Disney way until the sickness …

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