Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Makoto Shinkai)  – Japan
The third animated feature from Makoto Shinkai, a director who is fast becoming one of the most talked-about Japanese filmmakers. The awkwardly-titled Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below is his adaptation of the Shinto myth of Izanagi, who travels to the underworld to retrieve his wife after she dies in childbirth (the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice would be the Greek parallel). Shinkai gives his story to a young girl named Asuna, who has lost her father and remains distant from her workaholic mother. She spends her days hiking and listening to her father’s old crystal radio. One day her radio picks up a mysterious song that will lead her to an enigmatic boy and the subterranean world of Agartha.
All of Shinkai’s characters experience a deep loneliness, which fuels their drive for human connection and belonging. His majestic landscapes often dwarf his characters and even the more intimate moments in the film are often subject to a certain lack of harmony. Though the story itself is not as well-crafted as it could be, Shinkai’s magnificent visuals and poignant character work in this film may just make him worthy of the title “The Next Hayao Miyazaki” which is being thrown around a lot.
Verdict: It’s no Spirited Away, but it’ll do.
Medium: Computer, 1st viewing.
Rating: 3.5 stars.