Angel's Egg ★★★★

HOOPTOBER 666 #19/31
Criteria: Japan (7/6 countries)
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The most terrifying thing I have seen for this challenge so far. 

In a lot of ways, reminds me a lot of Chris Marker's La Jetee except more expressionistic and enigmatic. Both are products of and a commentary on the postwar climate in their respective countries and have a very distinct visual style that's incredibly effective at conveying a sense of hopeless desperation. In Angel's Egg's case, the sense of overwhelming dread is conveyed through oppressive darkness, the cold and desolate emptiness of city ruins haunted by its past, and a mysterious backstory that suggests a bleak future as a result of nuclear war, among other interpretations. And in terms of the quality of the hand-drawn animation, it's absolutely stunning and its level of detail rivals only something like Akira. Every frame of this film is a painting--sometimes I wished the movie would slow down so I can take in all the painstaking detail that went into the intricate designs a bit more. My favorite thing is the way the main character's hair flowed in motion.

Its thematic versatility can be attributed to how vague its plot is. Oshii is well-known in saying that even he doesn't understand the meaning of the film, but I really think he's underplaying just how personal and meticulously crafted it is. There's connections to Christianity and numerous references to Christian imagery/iconography that when coupled with the aforementioned sense of hopelessness and dread, seems to suggest the loss of one's spiritual faith. The movie is also edited in an interesting way, with faster cuts mixed in with a few scenes that are remarkably slow and meditative, some long shots being a couple of minutes long. It's startling when these long sequences happen but the way they're sequenced makes them even more powerful and profoundly sad, adding a level of immersion and emotional impact. The film ends with a lengthy Solaris-like reveal that is so good I couldn't believe what I was seeing.


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