In a sea of CG-animated films about talking animals, there is something endlessly refreshing about animated films that cover literally anything else. Perhaps the most creatively energizing of these animated outliers is Miss Hokusai, the Japanese-language animated film from director Keiichi Hara and anime powerhouse Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell), which released a new trailer on Friday. The film, released by GKIDS, will get a limited theatrical run beginning on October 14. With a powerful story of familial conflict, artistic struggle, and generational friction, Miss Hokusai looks poised to be one of the single best animated films of the year. In fact, it earned a coveted spot on our list of the 50 films you need to see this fall and winter.
The film takes place in Edo period Japan, and revolves around a young woman named O-Ei, a feisty and fiercely independent artist who just so happens to be the daughter of the most famous painter in all of Japan, Hokusai. (You know, the creator of “The Great Wave”? Yeah, that Hokusai.) While working in her father’s studio, she creates all manner of masterful paintings and exquisite drawings—all of which are sold under her father’s name, and which become exceptionally popular with Edo (present-day Tokyo) art collectors. Yet in spite of her immense talent, O-Ei feels constrained by her father’s influence and rankles against him when he taunts her lack of life experience. What follows is a dreamy, emotionally charged journey through life in Edo, filled with everything from dragons and yokai to bustling marketplaces and merchants. Throw in a complex relationship with her blind younger sister, and you have a recipe for a movie I desperately want to see.
Miss Hokusai opens in select theaters on October 14.
Image: GKIDS/Production I.G.
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