By all means, “Pompo: The Cinéphile” is a story in an “unreal” setting.
This work is set in the movie production “Nyariwood”, which is similar Hollywood, where “dreams become movies”.
Pompo-san (Joelle Davidovich “Pompo” Pomponett), the main protagonist whose name in the title, looks like a young girl, but she is a famous producer and great scriptwriter.
However, “the good thing about manga” lies in the being able to talk about the subject straightforwardly because of such an unusual setting.
So the story is simple. Pompo’s assistant, Gene, who proved himself in editing trailers, was appointed as the director of the next movie, “MEISTER,” the script for which was written by Pompo.
Gene managed to finish the shooting and was moving onto the editing, but that was the true “battlefield” for him.
The story is set in the filmmaking society with all the fun and difficulties of group work.
However, the subject of this work is not that. The theme of this work is condensed into a scene where after the shooting Gene is editing the movie, alone.
The fact that the editing process, which was never devoted to in the original story, was brought to the climax of the film, naturally means that it was an element that was absolutely necessary for the film.
Normally, the editing is a three-legged race of an editor and a director, but as mentioned above, this work is not “real”, so Gene is doing the editing alone. And by that “lie”, the theme of this work was clearly shown.
The editing scene of “MEISTER” first plays a role in explaining the importance of the editing process in movie production. What is the intention of the director by,arranging the cuts (in this case, the subject is a “live-action movie”, so it should be called a shot)?
First, as the script unfolds, Gene tries to connect the concert to the conversation scene after the performance.
Then, throwing it away as descriptive, he connects it from the performance scene as it is to the screen drawn by the angry conductor d’Albert after the performance.
Then, after showing the state of d’Albert who gets angry with the screen pulled for a while, he suddenly shows d’Albert’s expression up close.
So Gene decides to edit the movie this way. Here, the editing shown as the process of solidifying the narrative of the video, and that narrative is deeply connected with the emotions of the audience.
The audience watches it and remembers that this work used various patterns of transitions (effects when connecting cuts).
The transition emphasizes that the film is a series of “one connected image” and “another connected image”.
From the beginning of this work, various transitions were used as if to foretell that the story of this work would converge to “editing”.
Through editing work, Gene explores what the essence of the movie “MEISTER” is.
But eventually, he stops. Everything seems to be an important scene, but the dilemma is that if you don’t cut some scenes, the movie will be too long. Devastated Gene talks with Joelle Davidovich Pomponett, whose grandfather was also a famous producer.
Davidovich says that Pompo, the producer of “MEISTER”, is also a scriptwriter, and points out that at the root of Gene’s hesitation is the consciousness that “listening to Pompo for the correct answer has no meaning.”
So Davidowich asks Gene again. I think you, Gene, fell in love with movies because you could see yourself in them. And he says, “Are you in your movie?
In the original, when he was lost in editing, Gene remembers the words of the director Corvette. “It would be good to make the movie for someone special you want to show it to”.
From the subsequent frame movements, you can probably guess that Gene edited this movie for Pompo.
The movie takes it differently. While the original is about creating the movie for Pompo-san based on Pompo-san’s script, the anime develops it as creating an original movie based on Pompo-san’s script.
As a result of this consideration, Gene comes to the idea of the necessity of additional shooting. Gene decides that it is what will put “soul” in the “Great script written by Pompo-san.”
However, it is very troublesome to collect the cast crew once disbanded. Of course, additional budget is required. Gene sits down in front of Pompo and asks for it.
This can be called Gene’s ego. But this ego makes Gene the “slave” of his work.
This is when I remembered director Takahata Isao’s words, “Making a movie means rolling down a hill.”
According to “Working Dora New Edition Studio Ghibli Site” (Shinsho Iwanami, Suzuki Toshio), Takahata compared the scenario to a hill, and the producer also insisted that the staff made a movie by rolling down the hill.
You can think of a scenario as an agreement to “make this movie” rather than a concrete scenario. Once it was “let’s make this movie”, there is no choice but to fall toward the conditions that the movie requires.
For Gene, this additional shooting is unavoidable for the “rolling down”, and although it may be Gene’s whim, it is something the movie itself needs.
Here, the story adds an element from outside the studio, the question about if the bank will give the budget for additional shots. Gene’s classmate Alain works at the Nyariwood Bank.
Alain was cheerful and accurate and he was in the center of the class in school. He only had a momentary contact with Gene, but he reunites with him for shooting “MEISTER”.
At that time, Alain wasn’t doing well at the bank, and even thought about retirement.
Alain will play a big role in whether or not to invest in “MEISTER”.
It’s easy to understand that Alain’s work is also an extension of Davidovich’s question, “Where are you in this movie (work)?”
By undertaking this investment, Alain finds himself in the banking work. With the introduction of the movie’s original character, Alain, this work is not only a story about “manufacturing”, but also a more universal story of “what it means to work”.
The question “Why are you here?” is also the question “Why are you here?”
Can you find the meaning of “being there by chance”? By finding “meaning”, the person can escape from being a “slave to the situation”.
Of course, in the movie, both Gene and Alain achieve their goals, but that is just a “falling point” as fiction. The important thing is to find “the reason why you are there” and live.
It is that kind of universality that “Pompo: The Cinéphile” drew straightforwardly because it was “manga.”