The second appointment of Festival Première is Wes Anderson's new film, Isle of Dogs, that is going to be screened in original language, with Italian subtitles, at Cinema City on Thursday May 17 at 9pm. Don't forget to keep your ticket and you will get a discount entry for Ravenna Nightmare's next edition.
Japan, 2037. 12-years-old Atari Kobayashi is searching for his beloved dog after that an executive decree due to a dog flu has sent every dog of Megasaki City to a vast dump called Trash Island. Atari leaves alone in his Junior-Turbo Prop and travels along the river looking for his guard dog, Spots. Helped by a bunch of new four-legged friends, he starts a journey with the intention of freeing them.
Wes Anderson is one of the few directors, and probably the most talented in this respect, capable of saturate frames with a multitude of elements without becoming excessively baroque and complacent for its own sake. Only to empty the screen in the next frame leaving it to a single element in a wide space. In Anderson’s cinema setup is way more important than the story, which anyway is not confined to be a narrative background for images. As in this film, where what is narrated is not a “wall” but something analogue: an island where you can distance undesired people.
Choosing to contextualize the story in a Nipponese setting doesn’t mean trying to avoid a direct attack to Anderson’s own country’s politics. Just as he descended in sea abyss with Steve Zissou and travelled on Darjeeling with Whitman brothers and then went into Grand Budapest Hotel’s corridors and rooms, now he wants to experiment once again with little Atari.
What the experiment is about is easily said: going through Japanese iconic culture starting with b-movies with monsters and volcanic eruptions from the 60s untill modern pop symbols, but with a constant reference to Masters like Ozu and mainly Akira Kurosawa. From the Emperor, Anderson borrows film atmospheres as the ones of Drunken Angel or Stray Dog, without forgetting their humanity lesson even if contextualized in the most disadvantaged situations. The result is a stop motion film where what is never stopped is fantasy and creativity.