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Summer Wars

(Sama Wozu)
Sponsored by: Sympatico

Montreal Premiere

  • Japan 2009
  • 114 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2010



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“Thrilling, funny, affable, enjoyable... a near-perfect blend of social satire and science fiction, at once timely and timeless, sardonic and optimistic” — Justin Sevakis, ANIME NEWS NETWORK


Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Screenplay: Satoko Okudera
Cast: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Sumiko Fuji, Mitsuki Tanimura, Ayumu Saito
Producers: Seiji Okuda
Print Source: NTV



Forget your Facebook, your Second Life, your Twitter feed. The place to be online now is Oz, a virtual realm where anyone—no, everyone!—can have a cartoon avatar do their playing, shopping, banking, socializing, fighting and anything else for them. In fact, even regional governments are maintaining operations in Oz. But don’t worry, the security system for Oz is foolproof.

Among those handling the maintenance of Oz and its digital defenses is college nerd Kenji, who’s brilliant at math but helpless with girls. Nonetheless, he jumps at the chance—and who wouldn’t?—to accompany Natsuki, the cutest and most popular girl in school, to her family’s lavish estate out in Ueda, in the Nagano prefecture. She claims the trip is just to visit her great-grandmother for her 90th birthday, but Natsuki’s set Kenji up. She’s announced to the huge, extended Shinohara clan, a family of longstanding political and economic clout in Japan, that Kenji is her fiancé. That’s soon to be the least of Kenji’s problems, though, when one night brings two unsettling—and possibly related?—occurrences. The Shinohara clan’s black sheep, the rakish Wabisuke, has returned, and Kenji has received an anonymous email with an almost impossible math problem to crack. He can’t resist, of course, but this seemingly innocent task will have grave implications for Kenji, the Shinohara family and everyone in Oz…

Anime fans know very well what kind of quality to expect from Madhouse, the studio previously responsible for NINJA SCROLL, Satoshi Kon’s films and the excellent Osamu Tezuka adaptation, METROPOLIS. SUMMER WARS maintains the standard, and in fact was intended from the very beginning to be a movie to please many and disappoint very few. The story combines lively romantic comedy and family drama, carried by a host of charming, quirky characters, with exciting and intelligent science fiction action-thriller elements. The animation is top-notch, of course, and fans of Japanese pop-art wunderkind Takashi Murakami and his eyeball-searing Superflat aesthetic will simply adore the similarities in the design of Oz and its endless parade of oddball inhabitants!

—Rupert Bottenberg

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