Yesterday I went to another BFI London Film Festival screening: Wolf Children
at the Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Road.
This slow-moving but sweet anime tells the story of Hana, a student who falls in love with a wolf-man. They have two children together, then he disappears, leaving Hana to bring up two toddlers who, whenever they get cross or bored, turn into adorable puppies and start wrecking the joint (this was the Best Bit, although I liked the wolf/human snog too). Hana struggles to know what's right for them as she raises them in secret; when her daughter is ill, she doesn't know whether to take her to hospital or to the vet's.
The family moves from the city to a ramshackle house deep in the countryside, where Hana hopes her children will be left in peace to decide whether they want to be wolves or humans. Ame, the boy, is a timid child who screams when he sees a lizard and keeps asking when they're going to go home, while his big sister Yuki is soon revelling in the freedom to chase cats and pee on things. But soon they're approaching adolescence and decision time.
The film was subtitled, allowing me to listen out for the handful of Japanese words I know, like sensei
. As well as 'sorry' and 'thank you', I was proud to recognise the word for 'wolf' thanks to my playing of Okamiden
on the DS. I also enjoyed the fact that, although we're not told what Hana is studying, near the start of the film she attends a lecture on Socrates. The lecturer lists his accusers, one of whom was Lycon...which means 'wolflike'. Geek points!