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SUMMER WARS

Japan, 2009 (MIFF 2010, Animation)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Virtual neo-Tokyo is about to explode in this technological love story.

With his 2006 feature The Girl Who Leapt Through Time anime director Mamoru Hosoda demonstrated his flair for narrative whimsy and technical mastery; Summer Wars confirms he is hot on the heels of legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki.

The story follows Kenji, a high-school maths whiz who works part time as a low-level moderator of OZ - a virtual-reality world used by everyone for everything from email and recreation to business and military defence. Shy and self-conscious, Kenji can't believe his luck when his dream-girl Natsuki asks for his help with a summer project - but he quickly finds out that she hasn't been entirely upfront about her intentions.

Cleverly playing into today's technological Zeitgeist, Hosoda wows us with visual punches while never forgetting the simple charm of a well-told story.

D Mamoru Hosoda P Takuya Itô, Yuichiro Sato, Nozomu Takahashi, Takafumi Watanabe S Satoko Okudera Dist Madman Entertainment L Japanese w/English subtitles TD digibeta/2009

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