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Directed by Shunji Iwai

Japan 2015 100 mins. In Japanese

A prequel to Shunji Iwai’s 2004 live action film, The Case of Hana & Alice utilizes a distinctive rotoscope animation style to follow the nascence of the two eponymous characters’ friendship. After moving to a new neighborhood, Tetsuko “Alice” Arisugawa navigates the new social scene while getting to the bottom of a rumor-filled classroom mystery concerning the disappearance of a student in the seat adjacent to her. The case leads her to Hana Arai, a student who has refused to leave her room out of social withdrawal for the past year. Under the pretense of solving the mystery, Alice encourages Hana to confront her past. Delicate, tender, and subtly probing the psychology of the turbulence when a child is uprooted and placed in an unfamiliar situation, The Case of Hana & Alice is “unconventional…gently comedic and all-around upbeat.”—Peter Debruge, Variety. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Genres: Animation, Drama