International Premiere

Nezumikozo Jirokichi (Yamanaka Sadao ni Sasageru Manga Eiga Nezumikozo Jirokichi)

Directed by Rintaro

Japan, France 2023 24 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre AnimationClassique

Constables, crooks, common people — everyone’s on the lookout for Nezumikozo Jirokichi, the infamous Rat, sharp-witted, fleet-footed folk hero of olden-day Edo (imagine Robin Hood in a yukata). Long celebrated in kabuki theatre, minyo folk songs, and woodblock prints, Jirokichi’s exploits intrigued filmmaker Sadao Yamanaka, a pioneer of Japanese cinema whose populist sympathies and penchant for blending genres laid the groundwork for jidaigeki (period films) in the 1930s. Only three of Yamanaka’s many movies have been preserved to this day, and his vision of Nezumikozo is sadly not among them — but here’s the next best thing! Working from Yamanaka’s script, a team of anime luminaries have reconstructed the tale, and paid homage to the roots and particularities of their national cinema at the same time. NEZUMIKOZO JIROKICHI is directed by the venerable Rintaro, whose career began alongside Osamu Tezuka on ASTRO BOY, and later included GALAXY EXPRESS 999 and METROPOLIS, and the character designs come care of Katsuhiro Otomo (AKIRA). Add to that the marvelous music composed by Toshiyuki Honda, and Mami Koyama’s expressive narration, and the result is a lively, witty, heartfelt celebration of the best in Japanese popular culture across the centuries! – Rupert Bottenberg