My Beautiful Girl Mari
Now here's one that came out of left field.
This is an interesting title from Korea; quite different in animation style than the Japanese productions we're all used to. The gorgeous visuals are rendered in a style reminiscent of cut paper and while he story is uneven in places it's an intriguing experiment for sure. Read on for the full review.
My Beautiful Girl Mari is the story of Nam-woo, a boy from a Korean fishing town. The plot unfolds much like the lazy summer days that he to fill with swimming and cloud-gazing. That's a nice way of saying that this is a slow-moving story.
Did I mention it's slow? Oh lord, is it slow.
However, the gentle and deliberate pace is central to its charm. We follow Nam-woo through his unhurried summer vacation: swimming, cloud-gazing, squabbling with his mother, playing with his cat, trips to the public bath. We slowly settle into the rhythm of his simple life and share his wonderment as he begins to glimpse another world full of strange and confusing sights, those glimpses serving as brief respites from the everyday world.
The animation is excellent; done in a welcome and unique style that separates it from Japanese productions. The world is fluidly animated in a style resembling cut paper. The mundane objects in Nam-woo's existence – trees, candles, boats – are animated with as much care as the fantasy world. The net effect is quietly mesmerizing when paired with the unhurried progression of the story.
Is My Beautiful Girl Mari completely successful? Probably not by Western standards, no. We learn little about the characters. MTV addicts will find it painfully slow. Some of the events in the story's climax are arguably negated by events that follow. Still, I give this title a cautious recommendation. The animation is gorgeous and while it lacks a satisfying ending, it's an effective and subtly engrossing meditation on change and loss.
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