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5 Centimetres per Second

5 Centimetres per Second

Format: DVD

Release date: 14 March 2011

Distributor: Manga Entertainment

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Writers: Steven Foster, Makoto Shinkai

Original title: Byôsoku 5 senchimêtoru

Japan 2007

63 mins

Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimetres per Second is having a belated DVD release on March 14. With only one feature film, three shorts and one medium-length work to his name, Makoto Shinkai is a thirty-something animé director who has generated far more praise than his relative youth and short career would seem to deserve. Dubbed the new Hayao Miyazaki by the animé press, this is something of a misnomer as the two directors have very little in common other than creating films with greater emotional depth and a more singular vision than those of their peers. However, while Miyazaki works primarily in the nostalgic fantasy genre for a child/family audience, Shinkai makes thoughtful, austere films that tap into contemporary concerns about humanity’s relationship with technology and how it both connects and separates us from the people around us. While 5 Centimetres per Second is slightly underwhelming compared to his previous two films The Place Promised in Our Early Days and Voices of a Distant Star, his films at their best show a director who has a genuinely affecting visual aesthetic that recalls the live action films of Andrei Tarkovsky. It is this sensitivity to form and place that have earned the director his reputation, cemented by the fact that his first two shorts were made by the director almost entirely by himself on a home computer.

Alex Fitch

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