In this stunning anime director Keiichi Hara (‘Colorful’) attains a style effectively evoking the work of Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock print Master,Katsushika Hokusai.
Set in 1814, Miss Hokusai focuses on O-Ei, the daughter of famed artist Tetsuzo, better known by his pen name Hokusai, as she tries to navigate the various aspects of her life. O-Ei, (or Katsushika Oi,) is one of the rare cases of a woman artist who attains prominence, even in the shadow of her famous father.
The film weaves its scenes throughout the film in a breezy manner, much like the way the rice-paper woodcut print editions would periodically appear in the marketplace hanging from strings in front of shops. The prints reflected Edo’s blooming entertainment world, drawing images from theater, kabuki, teahouses, wrestling, and brothels. “Ukiyo-e” refers to the depiction of everyday life, or pictures of the “floating world” which, in the case of Hokusai, all manner of physical work.
The Edo period Yoshiwara “pleasure” district was the hip stomping ground in its day, with artists, actors, samurai, merchants, patrons of the arts, chefs and famous geisha creating a lively culture which is depicted elegantly in “Miss Hokusai.”
In the film’s sensual depiction of the milieu of the artists we are treated to succulent food scenes, glimpsing into teahouses, and erotic moments which were famously illustrated in ‘pillow books’ and ‘shunga’ prints, many of them done by O-Ei herself, competing with her father.
The senses of smell, taste, hearing and touch are particularly expressed in the animation, due in part to the Buddhist and xian Taoist philosophy of the artists and especially to O-Ei’s little sister who is blind.
Keiichi Hara has successfully conveyed sensuality, eroticism and how the power of art can transform our personal experiences.
“Miss Hokusai” is a rare cinematic experience that carries us into a special world and should not be missed.
Jury Award at the 39th Annecy International Animation Film Festival
Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2015
Gold Audience Award for Best Animated Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2015
Born in Tatebayashi city. Debuted as a film director with the theatrical version of “ESPer Mami, the Starry Sky Dancing Doll” in 1988, followed by a Doraemon spin-off, “Dorami-chan, The Highway Boys Band” in 1991. From 1993 to 2005 he created 13 “Crayon Shin-chan” theatrical anime films, one per year. Then made Summer Days with Coo and the acclaimed “Colorful”.
: Anne Watanabe, Yutaka Matsushige
Screenplay: Miho Maruo, based on the manga Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura
Cinematography: Koji Tanaka
Editing: Shigeru Nishiyama
Music: Harumi Fuuki
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