“Anime”, that’s Japanese animation, yes?
Kunio Kato’s (Fantasy Story, The Apple Incident, The Diary of Tortov Roddle) film La Maison en Petits Cubes won the Oscar for best animated short film this evening.
It’s a sweet little film about an old man remembering his life — as he swims down through the flooded layers of his house, at first chasing a dropped, favorite pipe, but then chasing the memories conjured by the abandoned rooms.
It’s not a surprising story, but it is well done, and manages to touch the viewer’s heart.
Like Kato’s earlier films, this one shares the appearance of being done on ancient paper (and shares his storybook imagery). Unlike Kato’s earlier films, which take the form of separate chapters, often complete with turning pages or title-cards, this film is a single story around a single incident — though, of course, each room, deeper in the water, and deeper in the past, contains its own episode.
If you’ve liked Kato’s earlier films, you should definitely seek this one out. Even if you didn’t care much for the slow pace and general artiness of the earlier films, you might enjoy this film. I think Kato has improved his pacing. For this viewer, it also helps that the film is a bit less surreal and more human.