Suzume no Tojimari Ends 21 Year Long Japanese Animation Drought At Berlin International Film Festival

The movie “Suzume no Tojimari” has been officially selected to be screened at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. It is the first Japanese animated work to receive this honor since Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” 21 years ago. Director Shinkai and Suzume’s voice actress Hara Nanoka are scheduled to participate in the red carpet and premiere screenings at the film festival. The film was released in theaters on November 11th in Japan and took 73 days for the number of tickets sold to reach 9.63 million and the box office revenue to exceed 12.8 billion yen. It is expected to be released globally in early 2023.


“Suzume no Tojimari” is Makoto Shinkai ‘s first feature-length animated film in three years. The story depicts 17-year-old Suzume Iwato, who meets a boy named Sota who searches for mysterious doors in the mountain. As more doors appear they begin to release disaster and destruction, and wreak havoc all over Japan. Their journey to close the doors leads them all over the country with Sota turning into a small chair at one point in the story. Director Shinkai has stated the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami as an inspiration for the film. “The base of the story of Suzume was inspired by a catastrophic event that happened in Japan 12 years ago. Questions I asked myself were how will this film be perceived by overseas audiences, what will be conveyed, what will not be conveyed? By this invitation I believe that I was given a good opportunity to find out the answer to these questions with my own ears and eyes. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the talent and efforts of the staff who have guided me to this point, and to all of you who have supported me.” said the director in his statement. 


For the film festival, a new visual has also been released. The poster shows a back view of characters Suzume and Sota walking hand in hand with a young girl in a relaxing meadow and a door can be seen in the distance.


The 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, which starts from February 16th to 26th, is an international film festival accredited by the Federation of International Film Producers Association (FIAPF), has been held every February in Berlin, Germany since 1951. It is one of the three major film festivals in the world, along with the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival. The grand prize is called the Golden Bear Award and can only be won by works nominated for the competition section. Japanese works such as Tadashi Imai ‘s Bushido, Samurai Saga (1963) and Hayao Miyazaki ‘s Spirited Away (2001) have won awards at the Berlin International Film Festival.



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