Freebies from Japan

I went to Shangri-la Mall in Mandaluyong to catch the last day of screening of Japanese films for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month. I mean, it's a rare care-free weekend in medical school and I have no excuse to miss a free film.

I got a single ticket for the earliest screening. Inside the dimly lit theater I scurried to find a seat while the Harry Potter trailer was on. Clumsily I bumped into one of those posts holding the theater cordon. I apologized to the usher for destroying it.

The film was Summer Days with Coo (2007), a story of a water sprite who survived his father's tragedy from 200 years ago and lived to see present-day Tokyo.

I am not in the best position to review this film; needless to say, it does not starve from adulations:
  • Best Animated Feature Film (nominated) - 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards
  • Grand Prize for Animation (won) - 2007 11th Japan Media Arts Festival
  • Notable Feature Film Entry (won) - 2008 Tokyo Anime Awards
  • Best Animation Film (won) - 2008 Mainichi Film Awards
  • Best Animation Film (nominated) - 2008 Japanese Academy Awards
 Animation films endear primarily to the eyes of children, but they will always have sublime adult themes. In 'Coo', as in many animation films of festivals past, the conflicts comprise man v. environment and man v. self.

Japanese film festival organizers are apparently keen at playing the pro-environment card and raise awareness among movie-goers. Their last year's foray included Miyori No Mori (2007), which was about a girl's quest to save a forest from humans.

It might be dangerous to offer comparisons but I will hazard my opinion. Coo is well-written and the audience had a significant share of laughs in between. Miyori was a more difficult film to like because of its silly screenplay. It may also have been overlooked by award-giving bodies that year. However, Miyori had an emotional thug, while I did not have a similar catharsis for Coo. Let's just say that I liked one better.

All in all, free films feel great. Here's to free tickets to Cine Europa and the Taiwanese Film Festival coming soon this year!