Ritual ★★★★★


One of the top comments describes Ritual as a secret known only by those who visited it, and it baffled me how much this appellation fits the film. It's about the thirty-three days relationship between a disillusioned director and an eccentric woman living a recluse life in an abandoned building. Each day is its own scene - with a notable exception in the middle - and each scene or so begins with the director waking up, almost immediately cuts to his meeting with this strange girl, and ends when Anno decides that he has told enough. It's as if the world of Ritual was only populated by these two individuals; each of them has a complex personality and a well-developed background in a universe that obviously exists beyond them, and yet in these two hours the world only revolves around them. To achieve such a feeling in a closed space already demands a lot of talent. To do so on the scale of a city, with multiple locations and without the excuse of a post-apocalyptic world leaves me in complete awe. Other characters are eventually appear, but each are linked to the background of one of the protagonists, so it doesn't destroy the film's mood - it puts it on hold at worst.

Such drama is entirely driven by its characters, and Anno's choice of actors is as bold as it is clever. The woman is played by Ayako Fujitani, who also wrote the novella the film is adapted on, and the director is played by none other than Shunji Iwai, a director known for his complex and compelling character studies. Both are perfectly cast in theory, and it turns out that they are also excellent in practice. Couple that with the wonderfuls production design, the quality of the script and Anno's talent behind the camera and you get one of the most unique dramas ever made.

After loving both Ritual and Shin Godzilla, I must make a pledge: I'll watch Love & Pop, and then finally complete Evangelion. The knew movie and the praise it received hyped me up anyway.

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