Saturday, February 27, 2016

Opening Night at NYICFF 2016 BOY AND THE BEAST

The New York Children's International Film festival is underway and I can stop bouncing in anticipation. Seriously I have been anticipating it's arrival as children anticipate a trip to Disney World.

But I'm better now that it's underway....

I have to say at the start that I missed Eric Beckman's introduction and welcoming of the great masses of children of all ages.I mean no offense but after almost two decades of his presence not having him on opening night is like a movie without popcorn There was nothing wrong with the head of the festival Nina Guralnick doing the honor but it was a tad too restrained and gentile. That's fine but you want a shark like feeding frenzy when your diving for t-shirts and the kids were loud but not ready to kill each other for free swag.

The evening began with a short called PLAYFULNESS from the SHorts for Tots block. It was a very good music video that made you want to get up and dance.

The Opening feature was Mamoru Hosada's THE BOY AND THE BEAST about Ren, a young boy who slips between the human and beast worlds after his mother dies and he ends up being trained by Kumatetsu, a bear like beast, who is in line to become the leader of the beast world. The film charts Ren's life over ten years.

The film is another masterpiece from Hosada, who is churning out deeply moving films seemingly ith the greatest of ease. Not even Studio Ghibli has hit four solid home runs out of the park four times at bat.

It plays, as Hubert says, like a mix of SPIRITED AWAY, KARATE KID, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and five or six other things. Not that you'd know because Hosada has mixed them together into something that is truly unique. Its all in his characters which lift up the cliche or riffs to a level where every couple of minutes you find you're tearing up.

One of the best films of 2016, look for this to be Oscar nominated next year. I would swear it would win, but that would only have happened if Pixar, Dreamworks or Disney had made it.

The film is not playing again at NYICFF, but is being released in March from Funmation

And now if you don't mind I'm going off to bed because I'm tired. Its been a long day.

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