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A TREE OF PALME

Japan, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Animation Gallery)

Director: Takashi Nakamura

A new animated feature by Nakamura Takashi, chief animation director of Japanime classic Akira (1988). At the base of a huge tree, Fow, an ancient botanist, lives in a hut with a malfunctioning wooden robot named Palme. A wounded warrior arrives at the secluded outpost just ahead of her marauding pursuers, she passes a capsule to Palme and makes him vow to deliver it to Tamas, a world deep underground.

Like the Pinocchio myth dragged screaming into a mythical, surreal future, A Tree of Palme explores the meaning of humanity. On his perilous journey, Palme encounters people a lot less mechanical but a lot more soulless than himself. Alarmed by the transience of existence the faithful robot weathers a succession of trials and battles to fulfil his quest.

Screening at both Berlin and Hong Kong Film Festivals, A Tree of Palme combines differing animation techniques in its creation of a fantasy future. Mind blowing 3D backgrounds are melded with more traditional 2-D character design in a world that is equal parts Tolkein and Dante's Hell. Includes a highly unusual soundtrack by Harada Takashi, Japan's sole professional player of the esoteric Martenot electronic keyboard.

Nakamura Takashi (born in Yamaguchi, 1955) became involved in animation in 1972 working on a number of TV series. Since then he has worked as an animator and character designer on numerous films, including Armageddon: The Great Battle with Genma (1983) and Warriors of the Wind (1984). This is Nakamura's second film as director following Catnapped! (1995).

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