The diary of the Animateka rookie: Wolf Children
Let's get the most obvious out of the way first – this is my first Animateka. First Animateka?!
I agree, a person would think that a film lover and (if Mercury allows it) a future filmmaker would have more contact with the world of animation. Well, at least a little bit more contact than the occasional viewing of the newest Disney adventure and literally devouring episode by episode of the drawn boys and girls with wild hairdos, as anime is described by my dear grandma. A person really would. One would expect it, and not only that – it would also be appropriate.
This year, I, after a set of lucky coincidences (I owe you, Mercury) got a chance to attend Animateka from the first row (I exaggerate, perhaps from the fourth or fifth row) with the possibility to view the whole scheduled programme and, of course, to write something about it. If I could insert sound effects here, let me give you a hint, they would be somewhere along the lines of sirens wailing, toucans screeching and cats purring.
Where to begin, if you’re a rookie? I started with what I know best. With the film Wolf Children (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, 2012) of the celebrated Japanese animator, Mamoru Hosoda, which was premiered here to honour the guest and the Animateka jury member, Akinori Oishi. If the light bulb didn’t go over your head when I mentioned his name, let me help you – have you ever watched Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon? Mamoru Hosoda was the collaborating animator for both. He also made a couple of feature films and one of the latest is Wolf Children.
It is a film about Hana, a student who falls in love with a werewolf, and about raising their children, who are, as the title suggests – half human and half wolves. As if raising children wasn’t hard by itself, right? To keep the truth about their identity safe, they move to the countryside, where Hana every day faces challenges posed to her by her growing-up wolf cubs. Will they grow up to be human or wolves?
When we hear the word werewolf, most of us would first think about silver bullets, full moon and running through dark forests in the glow of moonlight. You will not find those in this film. The narration of the film is essentially infinitely romantic and, together with the charming (and very significant) animation offered to us by Hosoda, we at times become permeated by an incredible nostalgia for the events we have never experienced.
The film Wolf Children is, above anything else, a fairy tale, running with the wind in one’s hair through the blooming meadow included, and it should also be taken as a fairy tale.
Maša Katarina Brecelj
Translation: Sanja Struna