Good things come in small packages in this impressive three film anthology from Studio Ponoc, highlighting the creative power of short-form animation – and showcasing Japan’s finest animators at work.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Modest Heroes is an ambitious collection of three thrilling tales, produced by acclaimed Studio Ponoc, the animation studio founded by two-time Academy Award-nominee Nishimura Yoshiaki (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, NZIFF14; When Marnie Was There, NZIFF15) and featuring many artists from the beloved and esteemed Studio Ghibli.
This action-packed, beautifully animated short film anthology is brought to life by some of the greatest talents working in Japanese animation today. In Kanini & Kanino, directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa, two crab siblings embark on a grand underwater adventure to find their father, after he’s carried off downstream. In Life Ain’t Gonna Lose, acclaimed animator Momose Yoshiyuki (key animator on Takahata Isao’s films at Studio Ghibli) makes his directorial debut with a very different kind of story. Eight-year-old Shun loves baseball and running – only his allergy to eggs can defeat him. In Invisible, the directing debut of Yamashita Akihiko (a key animator on many of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki Hayao’s best-loved films), a man goes through his day in a world where no one can see him.
Together, the three stories explore ideas of heroism in everyday life. The infinite potential of the short film format allows these celebrated directors to experiment with breathtaking and dynamic visuals, concise human drama and gorgeous fantasy worlds. — NM