Do you still remember the first time you rewatched an old animated cartoon film as an adult? I still do, and I was amazed that this film- I believe it was a Disney classic- worked for a grown-up audience as well. I realized that it was filled with innuendos, puns, and cultural references and simultaneously worked for its main target audience, the child viewers. Despite the impressive empire of Walt Disney Company, great animated films have always had a second home in Japan, often with a slightly more poetic and less conventional feel to them. Now, more than two years after its release in Japan, From Up on Poppy Hill, a fascinating coming-of-age story from the famous Japanese Ghibli Studios, finally finds its way into German cinemas and reveals its beautifully drawn magic on big screens around the country.
At first, there is an image that has a strange beauty to it. The washed out blues and the strokes of white look like an abstract painting. But the further the camera pans to the side, the more we realize that we are facing a wall that hasn’t been painted for some time. Then an equally beautiful canvas with prints of birds that are heading to the sky appears. But it turns out to be a simple window curtain. Then, suddenly, the sound of an explosion that makes the water in a bowl tremble and ripple before a hand reaches into the water to soak a cloth. The hand belongs to a beautiful but nameless woman who washes her husband’s face and is trapped in a room that seems like her prison. This room becomes her shelter as the war outside comes closer and closer.