Talking Pictures

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Posted by keith1942 on May 2, 2012

Director: Isamu Hirabayashi, 2011. 7 minutes.

This is a delightful Japanese animation: a format in which this film industry excels. It is very simple, both in its draftmanship and its story. A voice-over explains the events. The English titles are centre screen and I wondered if the original version had the beautiful Japanese script here.

It tells of the cicada which every 60 years climbs up a tree, sheds its shell, lays an offspring and dies. This particular year floods and eruptions threaten the cicada. Will it survive and reproduce. Then the end credits roll?

The film reopens as at the beginning, but now a cicada intent on climbing higher and higher has heard that when it was born there was a great tsunami and earthquake. The voice-over now includes multiple voices. It would seem the cicadas have survived and multiplied. We are told ‘I love this country’. Enigmatic but clearly a metaphor for the year of its production, 2011. 

Screened in the New Short section at Bradford International Film Festival.

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