Hosoda Mamoru’s latest film “Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess” has been selected for the “Cannes Première”, a newly created category in the Official Selection of the “Cannes International Film Festival”. On July 15, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. local time, the eve of the film’s release in Japan, the world premiere of the film was held at the “Theatre Claude Debussy”, where it received a standing ovation for about 14 minutes.

“Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess” is the latest work of director Hosoda Mamoru, whose previous works including “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” and “Summer Wars” all won the “Japan Academy Prize” for Best Animated Feature Film, and “Mirai” won the “Annie Award” and was nominated for the “U.S. Academy Prize” for Best Animated Feature Film.
The film is a story of courage and hope, depicting the main character Suzu, who is traumatized by the death of her mother, finding her loved ones in the virtual world of “U”, where 5 billion people gather on the Internet, and trying her best to walk towards the future while struggling with her problems.

The film was selected for the “Cannes Première Section” of the Official Selection of the “Cannes International Film Festival”, and had its world premiere on July 15, local time.
This was Hosoda-san’s second visit to Cannes in three years, since his 2018 film “Mirai” was selected for the “Directors’ Fortnight” held during the “71st Cannes International Film Festival”.
Before the screening, he commented, “The whole world is in the midst of the Corona Pandemic (the Cannes International Film Festival was cancelled last year), and I was worried about whether the festival would really be held, but I was relieved to see that it is being held. As a filmmaker, I feel proud to be able to witness this moment of revival and excitement in film culture. I am nervous about the first screening of this film as no one in the world has seen it yet, but I hope people will enjoy it.

When the screening time arrived, about 1,000 people, ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, filled the theater.
Even before the lights were turned on, the audience broke into applause and stood up not only on the first floor but also on the second floor.
The warm applause and cheers that echoed throughout the theater lasted for about 14 minutes, and the director gave an unscheduled post-screening speech, saying, “Thank you very much for your heartfelt applause.”

“Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess” will open in theaters nationwide on July 16.

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Director Mamoru Hosoda’s comments after the screening

I was surprised to receive so much applause from everyone. This is the first time to have people see the film and to receive such an applause, so I was really relieved. I think this film is unique in the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s very encouraging and empowering to have such support in a place where people who love films gather. I’m pleased about this film.
Now the film will finally be released in Japan, I hope people will share the same feelings as those who saw it in Cannes. I know it has been a tough time for you with the Corona Pandemic, but I hope you will enjoy this film in theaters while taking precautions against infection.

(C) 2021 Studio Chizu

[Anime! Anime! Biz / Article reprinted from animeanime.biz].