Cinephile turns the art of cinema into anime nonsense
The animated film Pompo: The Cinephile, which premiered at Fantasia Fest 2021, is fun to watch in a ‘bad that’s good’ way.
Watch the animated film Pompo: The Cinephile, many questions jostle in the head. To begin with, why is it called Pompo: The Cinephile when the character of Pompo (full name Joelle Davidovich Pomponette) doesn’t seem to really like the movies? She has a prodigious talent for producing them, following in the footsteps of her grandfather JD Peterzen à la Roger Corman, but Pompo bluntly states that she has never been moved by a movie. If the only movie that really moved her was her own Oscar bait drama Master, is she really a “cinephile?”
Maybe we should take it easy on Pompo’s lack of love for cinema; she is, after all, a child – or at least she is drawn as such. The promotional material only said that Pompo “looks like a girl,” implying that she could sort of be a grown woman, but that’s not even really mentioned in the movie. However, she Is makes rather lewd comments towards his actresses and is featured doing what is essentially softcore tentacle hentai. Humor based on incongruity or creepy fetish material? Looks a bit like column A, a bit like column B.
Pompo hires his assistant Gene to lead it Master script in a movie. Gene is possibly the least convincing director character ever seen in a movie. Throughout the shoot, he doesn’t seem to really make a decision or even know what he’s doing; Pompo and the cast both seem to have more creative influence than he does. It wasn’t until halfway through the editing process that Gene suddenly turned into a passionate filmmaker. Pompo: the cinephile is certainly a film that is concerned on the edit (scene transitions are creative and sometimes even beautiful), but it doesn’t exactly look like a realistic remote depiction of the creative process.
The list of things that just don’t make sense Pompo: the cinephile goes on and on. It’s entertaining to watch in a ‘bad that’s good’ way, with some really good animation that makes nonsense easier. Previous film by writer / director Takayuki Hirao GYO: The Tokyo Fish Attack was also arguably in the “so bad is good” category, and given the source manga by Shogo Sugitani for Pompo: The Cinephile is much less liked than that of Junji Ito GYO, it’s possible that more people will follow the stream of this bizarre anime film.
Pompo: The Cinephile takes place in “Nyallywood”, apparently a version of Hollywood where it all starts with “Nya”. (You know it’s meant to be vaguely American because the characters have American names as ordinary as Pompo, Mystia, and Dalbert, and they bow when they ask for forgiveness as all Americans naturally do.) The opening, “Dance on Fire”, is downright hilarious in its overblown lyrics. It doesn’t look like the movie can beat that initial high until it’s the least realistic business meeting / crowdfunding campaign launch imaginable.
Everyone in Pompo: The Cinephile Spends a lot of time talking about how “awesome” Gene and Pompo’s movie is, but nothing that is shown from the movie in the movie seems worthy of its constant praise and “Nyacademy Awards”. Some of the visuals – giving Pompo a magical transformation streak as a girl and turning Gene’s editing room techniques into something Erased – manage to convey the positive energy that the movie wants to diffuse, but in the end, this anime is just too absurd to achieve its goals. You may appreciate it for its high dosage of anime nonsense, but watch Don’t touch Eizouken! instead, if you want to see some really awesome anime about young movie prodigies.
Pompo: The Cinephile made its North American premiere at Fantasia Fest 2021. Further US release plans have yet to be announced.
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