For years considered the rising star of Japanese animation, Makoto Shinkai has more than arrived today as a consummate genius of the form and the auteur behind the highest-grossing anime of all-time, 2016’s Your Name. Starting out as an ambitious independent operator, Shinkai attracted the attention of CoMix Waves Films with his 1999 short She and Her Cat, and with their backing began to create some of the most staggeringly lovely animated work of the 21st century. Sometimes pointed to as the logical heir to Hayao Miyazaki due to the simple appeal and complex artistry of his films and his profound respect for the master, Shinkai is still very much his own artist with his own preoccupations. His humanist cinema combines the spirit of Ozu with an expansive, cosmic sense of scale in narratives that merge aspects of the intimate and the astral—the sky has a starring role in every film—using groundbreaking animation to convey and capture the beauty and follies of contemporary urban life, while returning repeatedly to tales of star-crossed lovers and narrowly missed connections complicated by time and tide. Metrograph’s survey of Shinkai’s films is his first-ever North American retrospective, but undoubtedly won’t be his last.
Showtimes coming soon.