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Japan / Poland, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Strange New Worlds)

Director: Oshii Mamoru

Avalon is an illegal and potentially lethal computer game - a battlefield simulation where players win money to support themselves in a cold, dystopic future. Ash has reached the exalted warrior class with aspirations to penetrate the much rumoured 'Class: Special A' level where players eliminate the risk of being 'reset', a gaming euphemism for their actual death in the virtual environment. Investigating a conspiracy involving a deadly game bug, Ash assembles a crack team to take on the shadowy Avalon programmers. A live action adventure by the director of Ghost in the Shell (1995), the extraordinary digital FX, utilisation of the Polish armoured divisions to replicate frightening, large-scale battle scenes and a wild ride script make this Cannes Film Festival selection a cinematic knockout.

"An outstanding accomplishment. Its mindblowing visuals and operatic score (courtesy of Kenji Kawai, composer of Ghost in the Shell and the first two Ring films) will leave you bowled over. On a technical level alone, Avalon is a landmark film." - Midnight Eye

Oshii Mamoru (born in South Korea, 1951) graduated from Tokyo Art Academy in 1976 and was already making independent films. Principally involved in the production of anime, the director has increasingly become involved in writing for manga as well as novels.

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