Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Though the title suggests otherwise, gangsters don’t take up a lot of screen time in this exquisitely animated new film from the director of Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress. Borrowing its plot from an old John Wayne comedy (!) about three hardened old cowboys who care for a foundling, it’s a surprisingly poetic excursion into life at the bottom of the Japanese heap.
“Tokyo shimmers in Tokyo Godfathers, a gorgeous animated film that’s as avid a tribute to the Japanese capital as Lost in Translation… The picture’s visual luster is matched by its moving depiction of its main characters, three homeless people who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas Day. Energized by the search for the infant’s parents, the three do things they didn’t think they could, like jumping off a moving train and tangling with mobsters… More character study than action movie, Tokyo Godfathers could just as well have been a live-action picture. But one look at its jaw-dropping cityscapes makes you glad it’s not.” — Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle