2004, GKIDS, 103 min, Japan, Dir: Masaaki Yuasa, Kôji Morimoto

This exhilarating animated cult classic is an explosion of gloriously colorful mages ricocheting in rapid-fire associations - like Masaaki Yuasa’s brain splattered onto the screen in all its goopy glory. Audiences will begin to grasp what they are in for early on as loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God – shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light. But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction and returns to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest.

2017, GKIDS, 102 min, Japan, Dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s classic The Little Broomstick, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE is an action-packed animated adventure full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters and the simple, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find her place in the world. While living in the country with her great-aunt, Mary follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the exotic Fly-by-Night flower. Together the flower and broomstick whisk Mary far away to Endor College – a school of magic where some terrible things are happening.

2017, Rai Com, 86 min, Italy, Dir: Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak, Dario Sansone

This inventive animated take on the famous fairy tale is peppered with sly references to recent Italian scandals. Mia has been raised on a huge ship, which has been docked at Naples for more than 15 years. Her scientist father had hoped to transform the harbor through technology, but after his death, the young girl has lived in the shadow of her terrible stepmother and six stepsisters. As the city declines, an ambitious drug dealer conspires with the stepmother to exploit Mia’s inheritance and turn the port of Naples into a capital of money laundering. “Slick, creative animation and largely enjoyable music make CINDERELLA THE CAT one of the best Italian animated films of recent years.” - Jay Weissberg, Variety.

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