Belle: find the voice!

Preceded by a good reputation since its passage at the Cannes Film Festival, Beautiful, the new production of Mamoru HOSODA arrived on French screens with great fanfare, served in particular by a promotional campaign that communicated around the VF dubbing and where the musical dimension of the film starring Louane took pride of place. A double rolled red carpet for an author who has made a name for himself in the hearts of the French public. It is now on video that this very beautiful film finally arrives. A great opportunity to dive back in with pleasure!

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HOSODA, tightrope walker of the intimate and the epic

Follow the filmography of Mamoru HOSODA is like finding a friend every 3 years and watching him grow, evolve, start a family, have children, grow old… the epic (fantasy), the equilibrium point shifting from movie to movie.

‘s cinema HOSODA has found its place in France and has established itself in the cinematic landscape. Why ? For in addition to his mastery of narration, animation and design, the director quickly established himself as a full-fledged author, with his own style and recurring themes, which he uses in every opus (the family, the transition to adulthood, etc.), but also as a versatile director who manages to evolve and renew himself with each film, satisfying an audience moving through the theater to rediscover this sweet emotional balance between familiar and new.

The film symbolizes the balance between the intimate and the fantastic at HOSODA. ©2020 STUDIO CHIZU

And Beautiful constitutes in many ways a film summary, both in its themes and in its themes, and precisely in the balance between these two currents, intimate and epic, coexisting in the cinema of HOSODA

Virtual world, you who give me wings

Of BeautifulMamoru HOSODA finds one of his favorite themes: the virtual world and its interactions with the real world, a subject from the second movie Digimon and of course in the formidable Summer Wars† After the world of OZ, Facebook before its time, here comes You, the metaverse before the metaverse, where anyone can create their alter ego and project themselves head over heels to reinvent themselves more freely. But the film is far from a repeat of Summer Wars† It is in the world of You that suzua young high school student with a complex and vast territory since her mother’s death, will be able to find her voice by incarnating as Beautiful, and thanks to her singing achieves an almost immediate fame and becomes the musical idol of U. In this parallel world, she is confronted with a beast whose desperate violence intrigues her, and she embarks on an (in) quest between real and virtual to unravel the secret of this mysterious character who is hated by everyone, but in whom she sees a pain similar to her own. But the beast is ferocious and doesn’t intend to be approached easily…

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Beauty and the network

We know since Summer WarsMamoru HOSODA projects much of his life into his films, which are often a reflection of his observations at a given moment. This time it is his observations of his 5-year-old daughter (the variations in her behavior at home and at school) and her concerns about her future, in light of the risks of bullying in particular, both at school and at school. the networks that prompted his reflection.

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A reflection that this time goes through the reinterpretation of a famous story. Through the story of The beauty and the beast in the world of Summer WarsHOSODA modernizes it and therefore questions the complex issue of social networks and what they represent for the younger generations who have been able to appropriate them and project themselves into them. A world that is both a great place of emancipation and self-examination, and a new source of danger where opinions can be fleeting and where you can quickly become the target of intimidation. The author treats his subject with the optimism that characterizes his cinema, but ultimately also with great subtlety, without giving in to easy demonization or otherness.

HOSODA modernizes Beauty and the Beast. ©2020 STUDIO CHIZU

A double double film

The film carries its duality in its highly technical bill: where the real world is represented in traditional 2D animation, the world of U is staged thanks to a 3D with extremely successful 2D rendering and for which he collaborated in particular with illustrious talents of western animation starting with JIN KimGreat Hero 6 and Snow Queen) to character design, but also: Ross Stewart and Tom MOOR (both responsible for the beautiful The Wolf People† We remember his collaboration with Takeshi MURAKAMI in front of Super flat monogram which resounded in Summer Wars† Thus, with these new encounters, he further broadens the palette of his graphic style.

A highly stylized virtual world. ©2020 STUDIO CHIZU

The real world is completely connected with the familiar style of HOSODA and the character design inherited from his previous collaboration with SADAMOTO† The atmosphere and the stakes of this side of the film are partly reminiscent of that of crossing time and his sentimental high school intrigue. The issue of grieving and overcoming it is again at the heart of the plot, as in The Boy and the Beast† And the director succeeds very well in that balance between gravity and lightness.

We are on familiar ground in the real world. ©2020 STUDIO CHIZU

On the side of the virtual world, as long as we leave aside the search for real technical coherence with the workings of YOU and its virtual projection system that flirts with magic, allegory on social networks functions fully.

Between the epic and also sentimental flights of the adventures of suzu in the virtual world and that, more intimate, of reality with its comic and tragic aspects, Mamoru HOSODA allows us to marry the feelings of its heroine and this is indeed the success of the film: to take us into a maelstrom of emotions and sensations he always knows how to move us. We never doubt the director’s sincerity and empathy for his characters, who, combined with his visual know-how, conquers us every time.

A beautiful sum movie that only confirms the joy and pleasure we have in rediscovering Mamoru HOSODA and its universe, movie after movie. Can’t wait for the next one!

Coincidence of the calendar or editorial information, a few weeks before the video release of Belle, the publisher of fine books that brings out Huginn & Muninn All art by Mamoru Hosoda

This book, written by Charles Solomon, achieves the feat of being as rich in iconography as it is in editorial content. The author traces Mamoru Hosoda’s career film by film with a plethora of rare visual documents (storyboard, character study boards, sets, layout, etc.). But far from being a simple collection of opulent documents, it is above all the collection of testimonials that makes this book a fascinating wealth of information. Indeed, Solomon has interviewed not only Mamoru Hosoda himself, but many other speakers, including his various collaborators over time, from his beginnings at Toei to Beautiful† The quota of anecdotes and relevant information is reached in the introductory chapter where the journey of the filmmaker is discussed earlier crossing timeespecially his years of training within the Toei and his sad aborted passage in Ghibli for The Moving Castle of The Howl† A devouring book that makes you want to dive back into the director’s filmography with a new eye.

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