June 8, 2004

Back To The SIFF

Cinecultist must give props out to Seattle Maggie, she's a real trooper. Despite meeting another birthday head-on (welcome to your late 20s girlfriend!), battling Eastern Washington traffic cops and a brutal stomach bug this past week, she still has time to relay her SIFF report. Sorta. Anyhoo, more actual film viewing at the fest is certain to come and in the meantime, some Seattle Maggie thoughts on anime.

On Monday evening, I was all set to attend a screening of "KAFAnime!", a collection of animated shorts from South Korea as a part of the continuing Seattle International Film Festival. Unfortunately, I was felled at the last minute by a Norwalk-esque stomach virus that I have been battling for the last couple of days (it's like a cruise - without the sun, water, midnight buffet and nightly towel animals) and retired uneasily to the close proximity of my toilet rather than chance having some kind of unpleasant accident at the theater. Nevertheless, I wanted to take this opportunity to cheer on the up and coming Korean animators who are constantly making greater strides in the field of animation.

I am a huge fan of animation in general for beginners, I'd say give Iron Giant a whirl, it's one of my favorite movies period but I am especially fond of Japanese anime. While 3D computer animation a-la Shrek seems all the rage these days, somehow there is a purity to the old line and ink drawings that appeals to me. There is a kind of weightlessness that is very freeing to the viewer, an "anything-can-happen" feeling that makes the action more exciting. Also, anime ain't your usual kiddy cartoons - the storylines can range from comic to adult, action to soap opera, or even a happy marriage of all of the above. If you look beyond the fascination with young girls in sailor suits and giant bosoms that defy gravity, you will often find that anime is enjoyable on both a entertainment and and an intellectual level.

Of course, I may be biased, having developed a mad crush on Vash the Stampede from the Trigun series, showing late night on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. Okay, so I do have a weakness for the tall, blond and skinny, but Vash is the perfect example of what anime has to offer - he is both zany and tragic, and often troubled with moral issues, punctuated with fits of brilliant action and gunplay. So what if he cries too much, has a Doomsday cannon implanted in his arm, and a 60 billion double dollar bounty on his head? Give me a swirl of red coat and those crinkly yellow sunglasses any day.

Getting back to my original point, while Japan is ruling the anime roost right now, Korean animators are inching in. I have been seeing a lot of Korean contributors listed in the credits, the latest sighting being the Cowboy Bebop movie recently released in the States. I have an inkling that we will soon be seeing animated features produced directly from South Korea, and the SIFF screening of animation from the Korean Academy of Film Arts is just the beginning. We salute all of those -oons, -ims, and -ans that will be taking the anime world by storm some day. More SIFF screenings to come later this week...until then, this is Seattle Maggie signing off!

Posted by karen at June 8, 2004 11:28 PM