When transitioning from the work week into the weekend or a short vacation, I like to watch a foreign film to transport my mind off into a different world. This movie about a European girl in Japan gave me a twofer, and filled the bill quite nicely. As a sci-fi, fantasy, and anime fan, I was intrigued by the title and subject, and was not disappointed.
Chloé Winkel, in what's apparently her first feature film, plays angelic-looking Angela, a just-graduated (from high school) cartoonist who scurries off to Japan on the recommendation of Yamamoto (Jon Yang), whom she meets at her graduation party, and who gives her the name and address of a friend with whom she can stay.
Once in Tokyo, Angela steps into a world of mystery, not just culturally, but also into one involving a missing bar girl. Entering the night club world herself provides Angela the opportunity to pursue the mystery; and her drawing what she "sees" blends imagination and reality into a mystery for the viewer.
This film exhibits an unusual sense of continuity. Fueled by flashes between our heroine's drawings and actual live scenes (the multi-tiered inner-city roadways in Tokyo were particularly interesting to this never-been-there American), the tale is told not as a straightforward continuous sequence wherein one scene leads inevitably to the next, but rather as a series of apparently disconnected scenes which have the effect of making the action appear to occur over a longer period of time than it actually does, i.e., what seems like weeks in actuality are mere days.
So what's real, what's imagination, what's flash-back or flash-forward? Suffice it to say that the ending, however "simplistic", breaks the wall between reality and fantasy, and resolves all mysteries for the viewer.
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