Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle Receives Standing Ovation at Cannes

For fourteen minutes, attendees of the 74th Cannes Film Festival stood in rapturous applause after yesterday’s World Premiere of Belle, the latest animated fantasy from Mamoru Hosoda, the acclaimed director of Wolf Children and Mirai. Some of those in attendance speculate that this could have been the longest standing ovation of the festival, and among the longest in its long history.

The film also received significant praise from prominent UK and international film critics. Robbie Collin, who writes for The Telegraph and was previously a judge at the 2019 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, tweeted that “there is usually one film per Cannes that emotionally bulldozes me, and this year Belle was it”, with IndieWire’s Anne Thompson going further to speculate that the film could earn Hosoda his second Oscar nomination, following Mirai in 2019.

Anime Limited, who have licensed the film for release in the UK, Ireland and France, describe the film’s story as:

From the celebrated Oscar®-nominated director Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, creator of Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more, comes a fantastical, yet beautiful and contemporary thematic story of one girl’s growth in the age of social media.

Suzu is a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. One day, she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love, in their quest to become who they truly are.

Belle is directed by Mamoru Hosoda at Studio Chizu, and boasts talent from across the world of animated film and beyond, including character designer Jin Kim (Disney’s Frozen), with art by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers), and a score by Ludvig Forssell of Kojima Productions (Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain). The online world of “U” was even crafted with the help of British architect

Anime Limited will be releasing Belle in France on 29 December 2021, with a release in the UK & Ireland confirmed for early 2022.

Josh A. Stevens

Reviewing anime by moonlight, working in film by daylight, never running out of things to write, he is the one named Josh A. Stevens.

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