Patema Inverted

Rating: 3.5

Patema, a young girl, explores an underground abandoned industrial warren of tunnels. She reaches a large vertical shaft in which dust falls up. When she sneaks back in her room, the Elder of the settlement scolds her because she broke the rules: that area is forbidden and dangerous, and being the daughter of the deceased Chief, she should be more careful and set a better example.

Of course, her curiosity wins, she goes back to the shaft, and falls down it… only to come out a hole in the ground, falling up, and be saved by Age, a boy who's upside-down. Or maybe she's the upside-down one?

There's plenty to like about this movie: the drawing and animations are great, the music is beautiful and sets the mood perfectly in every scene, the way the changing view points are shown is just brilliant. Watching it, I was often surprised by the additional layers in the story, and generally impressed by the attention to details.

YOSHIURA Yasuhiro (吉浦 康裕, Pale Cocoon, Time of Eve) has written an engaging story about differing ways to look at the world, about the dangers of isolationism, partisan reading and hiding of history, how easily the past can be rewritten to suit the purposes of the people in power. It's also a story of friendship and wonder, about how seeing new worlds, or old worlds in a new light, can be mind-expanding but also terrifying.

It's not without problems, of course: the evil people are too theatrically so, the strict society Age lives in is an extreme caricature of an absolutist regime, there's some uncomfortable subtext of victims becoming oppressors, and the widespread simplistic assumption that removing the one bad guy will magically upend centuries of indoctrination, especially when seeing the other as not really human is concerned.

On the other hand, it can be very good starting point for discussions about "others" and how even extreme differences in how we perceive the world do not necessarily imply differences to our essential nature.

All in all, a rather good, if ambitious, work, once again highlighting Yoshiura's talent in showing us new worlds, comparing and contrasting multiple ways of living in and looking at them.

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DatesCreated: 2015-03-08 16:16:47 Last modification: 2023-02-10 12:45:24