Screen/Society--Cine-East (East Asian Cinema): "From Up on Poppy Hill" (Japanese anime)
Film Screening: "From Up on Poppy Hill" (Goro Miyazaki, 2011, 91 min, Japan, in Japanese with English subtitles, Color, Blu-Ray, Rated PG)-- Goro Miyazaki's "From Up on Poppy Hill" was the top-grossing animated film in Japan in 2011, and won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The story unfolds in Yokohama during preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Each morning as she prepares for school, industrious Umi Matsuzaki flies signal flags from her family's boarding house in memory of her father, who was lost at sea during the Korean War. Shun Kazama, the engaging editor of the high school newspaper, gets her involved in his campaign to preserve "the Latin Quarter," a beloved but dilapidated building that houses the school clubs. The effort to save the ramshackle structure sparks a believable romance between these likable teenagers. Many Japanese retain a nostalgia for the early '60s, when the Olympics proclaimed their country's reemergence from the destruction of World War II and the period of rebuilding that followed. Kyo Sakamoto's crossover pop hit "Ue o muite aruko," which Americans know as "Sukiyaki," sets the tone. The Ghibli artists outdid themselves creating the dust and junk decades of high school students left in the Latin Quarter: the audience can understand both the students' affection for their ratty headquarters and the administrators' desire to be rid of an eyesore.