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Angel Kelly
Angel Kelly

Miss Hokusai

A tale of family and art all wrapped up in a gorgeous looking movie that's as appealing as the paintings featured in it. The movie walks that thin line between a Miyazaki film though it misses the enough magic or oomf to place it in the same pedestal, nonetheless, it has enough of it to get you invested. The animation also reminded me to less Japanese/Anime work such as Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Miss Hokusai

a japanese animated film revolving around the interesting life of an artist. the relationship of o-ei and o-nao must be protected at all cost; they both frankly carried this entire film like i didn't even care about hokusai himself. their strolls and experiences together just evoke pure sentimentality. animation, pacing, and structure can be improved more. altogether, a cute and decent anime film.

Furthermore, those episodes also depict the circumstances of the art world in the era, where the majority of the artists made a living from patrons who commissioned specific paintings, although erotic sketches were also very popular, particularly among the lower castes.

All three of these functions are demonstrated in a sequence near the beginning of the film, one of its best. The old master has been working on a commission, an ink painting of a great dragon, and at the very last minute O-Ei mistakenly drops ash from the pipe she's smoking on it. Hokusai trashes the finished work, and is gruffly unmoved by the pleas from the samurai who came to collect it. It's not his problem if the poor guy has to dump his guts on the floor for failing to deliver. O-Ei ends up working through the night to reproduce her father's work, and the two of them are found the following morning asleep on opposite sides of the paper.

The film begins in 1814, with Tetsuzo in his mid-fifties, and portrayed as primarily a painter. He works in a studio with his daughter, O-Ei. Tetsuzo is portrayed here as a less than sympathetic figure, a quiet and undemonstrative person who cares far more about his work than his relationships. O-Ei toils away for him, providing artwork for the commissions that they have accepted, while also giving instruction, encouragement, or (mostly) criticism to fellow artists who come by to visit. O-Ei does not really like her father, but she must respect his talent and his place in society. And while she may resent his less noble qualities, she tries hard to match his ability as an artist. Of course, they are a lot alike, except in how they care of family. Tetsuzo is distant, while O-Ei spends time regularly with her mother and with her blind, sick little sister. Tetsuzo fears illness and death, so he stays away from his youngest offspring altogether.

The Anime and Art Film Series will conclude with a screening on February 21 (film TBD). All screenings are free and open to the public and admission is first-come-first serve. Repro Japan is on view at the Williams College Museum of Art through March 19, 2022. 041b061a72


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