MAKOTO SHINKAI’S “YOUR NAME” TO SCREEN IN COMPETITION AT THE 60TH BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL
The 60th BFI London Film Festival announces that for the first time in its history, it will host a Japanese animated film in competition.
Blending comedy, drama, heartbreak and wonder, Your Name is directed by Makoto Shinkai, who is often hailed as Japan’s successor to Hayao Miyazaki. In Your Name, Shinkai creates a film which leaps between the urban bustle of central Tokyo and the rural beauty of a country backwater, presented in the radiant detail that has made Shinkai’s films beloved by animation fans.
Your Name is the story of a teenage boy and girl who have never met, but who start to magically swap minds and live each other’s lives. Mitsuha, a teenage girl student, lives in a small mountain town, but longs for the bright lights of Tokyo far away. Then she is astonished to wake one morning in the body of Taki, a teenage Tokyo schoolboy – who in turn wakes up in Mitsuha’s body!
Switching back and forth between two lives, locations and genders, Mitsuha and Taki must cope with their fantastic shared situation. At first they are outraged and mortified by what’s happening, but soon they start enjoying their double lives, though they never meet directly. Eventually, though, one of the youngsters will learn the devastating truth behind what’s happening…
Released in Japan this August, Your Name was an instant hit, shooting to the top of the box-office charts. Both the modern and traditional sides of Japan are shown with extraordinary realism, the modern infrastructure of Tokyo and the ancient Shinto traditions of Mitsuha’s rural home. (The traditional way of making “sake” is shown – it’s not what you’d expect.)
Shinkai’s previous films include The Garden of Words, Journey to Agartha, 5 Centimeters per Second and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Typically, Shinkai shows young protagonists with a spiritual link who are kept tragically apart – a motif taken to metaphysical levels in Your Name. As well as directing, Shinkai created Your Name’s story, and handled the film’s script, storyboard and editing. He also wrote the film’s novelisation, already published in Japan.
In addition, the director employed the talents of acclaimed animation professionals. Your Name’s Animation Director is Masashi Ando, one of the three Animation Directors on the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Ando took the same role on Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-nominated When Marnie Was There, and on two celebrated films by the director Satoshi Kon, Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers.
Your Name’s Character Designer is Masayoshi Tanaka, who took that role on the animated Anthem of the Heart, which was shown in this year’s Japan Foundation touring film programme. Ryonosuke Kamiki voices Taki, Your Name’s male protagonist.
Back at the age of seven, Kamiki voiced the giant baby Boh in Spirited Away. Kamiki also featured in Howl’s Moving Castle, Arrietty, and he voiced the hero in Mamoru Hosoda’s film Summer Wars. Your Name’s music includes more than twenty pieces by the hugely popular Japanese rock band RADWIMPS.
Following its UK premiere at the London Film Festival, Your Name will open nationwide at 78 UK cinemas on November 24. The UK is one of the first countries outside Japan where the release plans for the film have been announced.