Oscar-nominated anime director Mamoru Hosoda returns with an outstanding tale, following a socially awkward girl who transforms herself into a megastar within a virtual world.
Yuichiro Saito, Genki Kawamura, Nozomu Takahashi, Toshimi Tanio
Kaho Nakamura, Shōta Sometani, Takeru Satoh
Japan 2021. 121min
With English subtitles
High-school student Suzu finds everyday social conventions difficult to deal with and is increasingly drawn into an alternative, virtual world via the U app – an Internet-based environment with five billion members. Here, she excels as singing megastar Belle; her alter-ego even providing her with a confidence boost in reality. U allows people like Suzu, who battles to cope with the loss of her mother, to find some sanctuary from the pain and struggles of their real lives. Yet, within its atmosphere of beauty and wonder, an underlying danger surfaces. Belle/Suzu’s life becomes entwined with a disruptive presence known as the ‘Dragon’, as she recognises that behind this threatening façade someone pained is crying out for help. Belle is another triumph for LFF favourite Hosoda (Mirai, LFF 2018). It’s a captivating, magical voyage and an insightful snapshot of how technology has transformed all our lives.
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