On the night of a cat village's Festival of the Stars, a kitten and his friend go on an celestial journey on a magical space locomotive. On that trip, they have various stops where they meet strange sights, even more unusual fellow passengers and learn some lessons of life on their trip to the terminus of the Galactic Railroad.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Express (1985)
Night on the Galactic Railroad isn't your traditional family film. It deals with some incredibly deep themes, as well as having a slow meditative pace. We follow a young cat (changed from human in the original book) called Giovanni. Giovanni has no time for himself. His father is away, his mother is sick, and when he isn't at school he has to work. One evening the family's delivery of milk never comes, so Giovanni goes to get it. He rests on top of a hill before being confronted by a train. He gets on and finds his friend Campenella. From there the duo encounter a number of passengers each with a strange story to tell. This film is certainly all about the metaphysical. Each story strengthens the themes of religion and sacrifice. It gets highly emotional at times. The imagery is often surreal but always memorable. The animation is calm in both colours and movement. This film is presented in chapters, which I think may be a better way to digest it. It's something no country but Japan would try, and the ending is so powerful it really does make the journey worth it. Mature and thoughtful, if sometimes a little slow.
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