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This special screening is programmed to coincide with an exhibition by David Blandy, who draws extensively on the themes and aesthetics of Japanese animation within his work. His show Odysseys features works such as Anjin 1600 (2012) and Child of the Atom (2010), which draw on the visual language of Japanese anime to tell deeply personal cross-cultural stories.
To complement his exhibition, David Blandy will be present to introduce this screening of one of his favourite anime films.
PRINCESS MONONOKE is one of legendary Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki’s most ambitious, influential and visually sumptuous films. "One of the most visually inventive films I have ever seen," according to Roger Ebert, it is one of Japan's highest-grossing films, and certainly one of the best-loved anime films of all time.
Set in the Muromachi Era (1338–1573), this magnificent epic traces Japan's move from the Middle Ages to modernity with the breathtaking artistry that first brought Miyazaki to the attention of Disney, who distributed the film in the USA.
From the opening sequence onwards, PRINCESS MONONOKE is packed with memorable images.
Out of the woods leaps an extraordinary beast, a gigantic Boar God writhing with snakes, causing death and mayhem on its rampaging way. Young Prince Ashitaka slays the beast, but receives a wound in his arm and becomes infected with the same sickness that had enraged the Boar, a sickness stemming from the disharmony between humankind and nature. Ashitaka sets off to find a cure, travelling westwards through the forest, where he encounters Mononoke, a human girl raised as a wolf who now leads the battle between the forest gods and the encroaching settlement of iron miners – who themselves are under attack from a group of samurai.
The intricacies of this world make for a refreshingly complex moral order, and all choices are hard ones; it's a story with depth and force, leavened with generous touches of the utterly unexpected, such as a convocation of head-wobbling forest sprites. In reversal of the usual formula, this is an adult animation that children (10+) will enjoy.
Blandy's exhibition Odysseys is curated by Lighthouse and presented in partnership with Phoenix Brighton for Brighton Digital Festival, and is supported by Arts Council England.
Brighton Digital Festival is a celebration of digital culture. It is run by members of Brighton's digital and arts communities, administered by Wired Sussex in association with Lighthouse.