Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2021
Cocomi, Natsuki Hanae, Shinobu Otake
Shu Kamigaso, Eiko Tanaka, Mitsugu Yamada
STUDIO4ºC Co., Ltd.
“Everyone in town knows Nikuko. The cheery plump lady with a past. She stands out in this little place. What’s more, she’s my mom.” Kikuko, a girl on the cusp of adolescence, is pretty, skinny, pensive, and shy – nothing like her mom, Nikuko, who’s big, brash, loud and foolish. The two live on a modest houseboat in the harbour of a small fishing village in northern Japan, where they’ve ended up after a decade of drifting (chalk it up to Nikuko’s poor choices in men, who’ve left her only heartbreak and debt). Nikuko’s a source of embarrassment for her daughter, who has a life of her own beginning to unfold. Kikuko has her misgivings about growing up, and dreads being dragged into her classmates’ social rivalries. Then there’s Ninomiya, the odd and withdrawn local boy she finds intriguing, and the startling revelation that fate holds in store for her. Before the first snowfall, big things are going to happen in the lives of this small town.
The devil is in the details, they say – but so are the angels. Following the wondrous, well received CHILDREN OF THE SEA (2019), director Ayumu Watanabe and the ace Studio 4ºC team return with a quirky, candid, colourful comedy-drama, a combination of coming-of-age tale and sharp-eyed character study. Based on a popular book by author Kanako Nishi, an astute observer of the human condition, FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO demonstrates with precision and panache how the most ordinary people and places can be quite extraordinary, the most mundane things truly marvellous (warning: do not watch this anime on an empty stomach!). Laughter, tears, life lessons and a lot of love, served up fresh for the Fantasia audience! – Rupert Bottenberg
This psychedelic animated milkshake of twisted mysticism and streetwise thrills is possibly the most laureled film in Fantasia’s history.
The 4K restoration of the masterwork from the late anime visionary Satoshi Kon, strikingly beautiful, formally inventive, and emotionally rich.
Winning praise from Martin Scorsese, HAN GONG-JU verges on perfection. It’s impossible to remain unmoved by this drama, as relevant as it is powerful.