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Belle (2021)

Opens on January 14

Director: Mamoru Hosoda Run Time: 121 min. Rating: PG Release Year: 2022

Starring: Kaho Nakamura, Rira Ikuta, Ryo Narita, Shôta Sometani, Tina Tamashiro

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese

About the film:

Official Selection of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.

About the filmmaker:

Acclaimed writer-director Mamoru Hosoda trained as an oil painter before honing his skills at animation studios like Toei and Studio Ghibli. With studio Madhouse, he directed 2006’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and 2009’s Summer Wars, both winners of the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. With his longtime collaborator and producer Yuichiro Saito, Hosoda co-founded Studio Chizu and crafted Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, and Mirai, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2018.

To create the background art of the virtual world in Belle, Hosoda enlisted the aid of Academy Award-winning Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon as well as veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim for the character design of Belle.

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