HARUKI MURAKAMI: BLIND WILLOW, SLEEPING WOMAN
We love ourselves some Murakami! Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short stories, Pierre Földes’ animated debut feature Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman sketches the lives of three Tokyo residents thrown into a whirlpool of anxiety and introspection following the 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan.
Dazed by televised reports of the disaster, Kyoko leaves her husband Komura to pursue a strange event that took place on her twentieth birthday. To make sense of her sudden disappearance, a stunned Komura drifts across the country from one acquaintance to another. Meanwhile, his elderly colleague, the timid Katagiri, is visited by a six-foot frog that seeks his help to combat an underground monster and prevent an impending catastrophe.
This enchanted, captivating tale of trauma-induced self-examination unfolds through enigmatic digressions and nested stories. Like the best storytellers, Földes refuses to tie these detours into a glib lesson, letting unexplained mystery infuse and mutate in our minds. The feature is an ode to the transformative power of imagination that respects and relies on the audience’s interpretation.
With a composite filmmaking approach that combines live-action footage with 3D modelling, Földes captures precise details of gesture and body language. At the same time, the eclectic animation technique – dropped frames, unshaded faces, translucent figures – wrests the film from simple naturalism and conveys a texture midway between dream and waking life.