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Animation Features Live Action Movies

The Glassworker
(Sheesha Gar,
شیشہ گ)

Director – Usman Riaz – 2024 – Pakistan, Spain – 98m

*****

The son of a pacifist glassblower learning his father’s trade falls for the violin-playing daughter of an army colonel in wartime – complex anti-war drama from the 2024 Annecy International Animation Festival in the Contrechamps section, released in Pakistan on Friday, 26th July 2024

If you knew nothing about this animated film beforehand, you’d assume it to be Japanese. Love it or hate it, most animation made in Japan falls within very distinctive, stylistic, visual parameters. According to the press blurb, director Riaz is an admirer of Studio Ghibli directors Miyazaki and Takahata as well as more recent directors Mamoru Hosoda and Satoshi Kon. Visually, the film feels more like a Miyazaki than anything else, and of comparable quality too. Yet it’s also highly original, and Riaz, here directing his first feature after a number of shorts, clearly has his own voice.

It opens with a frame story about youthful glassblower Vincent Oliver (voice: Sacha Dhawan) who, with the help of his father, is preparing for the opening of his debut glassware exhibition. He rereads a letter from a girl which his father (voice: Art Malik) had told him years ago to destroy in their workshop’s furnace.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Shadow of Fire
(Hokage,
ほかげ)

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 2023 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 95m

****

A woman has drifted into prostitution, while a small boy struggles to survive in post-war Tokyo – plays UK cinemas in the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024 between Friday, 2nd February and Sunday, 31st March

An interior in the ruins of post-war Tokyo. A figure sleeps restlessly on a mat. A man hunts for a child who has broken in and is stealing food to survive. The man says to the waking woman (Shuri), “I approach the ones who look harmless – but who knows?” As he forces himself upon here, the image cuts away to decay on the walls. The woman’s hand, like a strange, disembodied limb, appears over a parapet fixture. The man goes out to solicit clients from the woman.

A soldier (Hiroki Kono) comes in, clearly in a bad way, drinks some Sake, pays the fee, then falls asleep. In the morning, she makes him breakfast. He asks to stay, promising to get work and pay his way, but after a day or so the young boy (Oga Tsukao), who she has taken under her wing, reports that he just sits in the same spot and does no work-hunting.… Read the rest