Makoto Shinkai’s anime film ‘Suzume’ explores ‘finding hope’ in the midst of calamity
Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film, Suzume, is set in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake that ravaged Japan’s Tohoku region and focuses on themes of loss and grief.
““Suzume” is a story of loss and the grief that she experiences, but to only have that would have resulted in a heavy and dark film. To offset that, She meets Souta, a chair with three legs. Souta becomes her sidekick and is this comical character,” Shinkai revealed to Variety in an interview.
The film tells the story of a young girl, Suzume, who travels across disaster-stricken Japan in hopes of saving the country from its devastation, accompanied by a talking cat and a mobile three-legged chair.
Shinkai discusses building Suzume’s world and the film’s universal message of disaster and hope, including how the earthquake reshaped Japan as well as his movie-making practice, the balance of themes in storytelling, the significance of the three-legged chair, and the juxtaposition of Japan’s beautiful and haunting elements.
“I’ve been warming up this project since the Great East Tohoku earthquake of 2011. That earthquake completely reshaped Japan as a country and society. It rewrote part of how I viewed the world, and even though I wasn’t a firsthand victim, I felt the disruption to peaceful daily life, and how life as we knew it was suddenly uprooted because of the events surrounding it.”
“It also changed my movie-making process. I started to think more about how as humans, we can co-exist in a world with disaster and how we can be displaced at any given moment in time, and how to find hope.”
Suzume hit international cinemas on April 14, 2023.
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