05-15 November 2020

Festivals & Events

HIFF Blog

October 26, 2019

HIFF39: Animating the Fantastic!

Programming intern Adrian Alarilla blogs about the amazing and very diverse animated feature films—from India, France, Hong Kong and Japan—screening at HIFF39.

60 artists worked meticulously for over 18 months to create an oil-painted aesthetic of BOMBAY ROSE. 

Since the rise of computer-generated imagery, pundits have foretold the demise of traditional, hand-drawn animation. And for a time in the earlier part of this decade, it seemed that way, with Disney transitioning to 3D graphics along with new animation studios (such as Illumination Animation). While this trend doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon, critical reviews on photorealistic animation projects such as the Lion King remake earlier this year seem to suggest that what CGI possesses in terms of technology, it somewhat still lacks in personability and emotion.

It is no wonder then that audiences are still drawn to traditional animation, lovingly preserved every year by independent filmmakers who also miss its charm, color, and fantasy. HIFF is so excited to share some of these fantastic animated works this coming month.

With each lovingly hand-painted frame, BOMBAY ROSE combines cell animation with traditional Indian visual art techniques. Indeed, with 60 artists and over 18 months of production to create an oil-painted aesthetic, this film is an audacious contribution to Indian cinema and is nothing short of a masterpiece. Set in the booming urban sprawl of Bombay, the film follows the story of a flower seller named Kamala who finds comfort in a young Muslim boy named Salim. Watch this unique cinematic experience at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 16 on Monday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, and at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 15 on Wednesday, November 13 at 4:00 pm.

Surreal, expressionistic, and touching, I LOST MY BODY is by first time filmmaker and animator Jeremy Clapin and AMELIE screenwriter Guillaume Laurant from the latter’s 2006 novel, “Happy Hand.” The film is literally about the journey of a hand as it tries to reunite with its body. Philosophical and highly original, this touching account of loss is playing at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 15 on Sunday, November 10 at 4:30 pm, and at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 16 on Thursday, Cinema 14 at 5:30 pm.

For NO. 7 CHERRY LANE, filmmaker Yonfan utilized a new process that turns original 3-D illustrations into 2-D images on rice paper to create a love letter to Hong Kong, a place that also straddles tradition with modernity. Set in the 1960s, this film is a snapshot of a time of political upheaval. For Ziming, however, a more personal revolution is about to begin, as he finds himself drawn into intimate entanglements with both his student Meiling and her mother, Mrs. Yu. Watch this artistic piece at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 1 on Thursday, November 14 at 7:00 pm, and at Regal Dole Cannery 13 on Saturday, November 16 at 3:45 pm.

Of course, there is a place where traditional cel animation continues to maintain a strong hold in the film and media industry, and that is Japan. The Anime industry continues to be strong both domestically and internationally, and animators are forever improving and innovating the craft. RIDE YOUR WAVE is one such animated film, with a fluid, dynamic style that makes each frame interesting and exciting. Watch this story of loss and redemption at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 9 on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 pm, at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 13 on Wednesday, November 13 at 6:30 pm, and at the Waimea Theater on Sunday, November 24 at 3:00 pm.

HIFF’s closing film, WEATHERING WITH YOU, is Makoto Shinkai’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 201 hit film YOUR NAME. He again explores traditional Japanese spirituality as well as magical realism in his dystopian Tokyo in the future, which is always raining. This time, the story is about a freelance writer named Hodaka who meets Hina, a bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky… The film has surely lived up to the rabid fervor from Shinkai fans becoming Japan’s most commercially successful film of 2019. With many anime and Shinkai fans on island, we expect this film to sell out quickly, so get your tickets now to the Closing Night Screening at Regal Dole Cannery Cinema 9 on Sunday, November 17, at 7:00 pm.

Colorful, touching, magical, and emotional, HIFF’s animated offerings this year attests to the continued popularity of traditional animation, and its capability to bring to life our richest, deepest fantasies. Check out our full schedule for more information.


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