A few days ago I went to the BFI London film festival currently taking place at a number of locations across London. I chose to go see Mamoru Hosoda's new film Wolf Children. I'm a fan of Hosoda's other work (The girl who leapt through time (2006) ; summer wars (2009)) as both an animation director and an artist.
The animated film tells the story of Hana, a young woman who falls in love with a wolf man. Together they have two children and live happily until the Wolfman disappears. Hana is left alone to look after her two children Yuki (snow) and Ame (rain). Fearing the prying eyes of her neighbours and state interference from social services, Hana decides to move the children to the countryside to allow them to live freely and determine their own personalities - wolf or human?
Wolf children is a beautiful and moving story about the wonders of motherhood, the vulnerability of couples without state recognition of their relationships, the right to freely determine one's personality (established in Europe under Article 8 of the ECHR) and the notion of the 'Other'. Reminiscent in parts of Studio Ghibli's Totoro, the film combines fantasy with every day parenting issues to make it both touching and funny.
The director has stated of his motivation to make the film:
"When you have children, you change dramatically as a human being. Maybe I’m attracted to people who have responsibilities. I was especially dazzled by a friend who became a mother. Until then, ‘mothers’ were unfamiliar people to me, but a friend became one, and child-raising became a more familiar subject to me. I was impressed by her sense of responsibility for raising a child. That’s why I wanted this movie to be a story about a woman through her role as a mother."
A 'human rights' film to share with kids!