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The Garden of Words ("Kotonoha no Niwa")

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2012
  • 46 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)

“A triumph of serene observation and quiet beauty... the craft of this film and its meditative power simply must be experienced” - Jack Reed, REMOTE WANDERINGS

Takao Akizuki is a Japanese teenager more acutely sensitive to life than most kids his age. He dedicates his free time to his passion, designing and making handmade shoes. His habit of skipping school on rainy mornings brings him to a place of peace and quiet, a secluded public park where he can sit and sketch out ideas for the footwear he will fashion. But he isn’t alone in seeking sanctuary in this garden when the rain falls. His favourite gazebo has also become a destination for a woman in her late twenties, who Takao regularly finds there, drinking beer and eating chocolate bars. Though they remain strangers, the pair converse openly and intimately, gradually building a bond that transcends any lustful crush, something like love that is both deep and forever distant…

Among the true auteurs of modern anime, Makoto Shinkai — a perennial in Fantasia’s programming — has firmly established his name with such subtle yet breathtaking works as VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR, THE PLACE PROMISED IN OUR EARLY DAYS and 5 CENTIMETERS PER SECOND. Last year, we screened the gorgeous CHILDREN WHO CHASE LOST VOICES FROM DEEP BELOW, a fairy-tale adventure worthy of Hayao Miyazaki (Shinkai has been, on more than one occasion, tapped as the true heir to the anime master’s throne). With his latest work, Shinkai sets aside the sci-fi and fantasy trappings and returns to the realm of realism. Here he has crafted a gentle, intelligent melodrama that, as Shinkai has proven so skilled at, deftly avoids descending into the maudlin as it knocks respectfully at the doors of our hearts. As always, Shinkai’s knack for finely wrought evocations of place, time and mood shine brightly, every frame of this film being postcard-perfect to they eye. Join Shinkai in his GARDEN, and see what is blooming now that the rains have fallen…

NOTE: Unlike stated in the printed program, THE GARDEN OF WORDS will play before NEW NEIGHBOR.

— Rupert Bottenberg

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