Akiyuki Shinbo's LE PORTRAIT DE PETITE COSSETTE
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
A young man becomes obsessed with the spirit of a murdered girl he finds entrapped in a glass in the antique shop where he works. His obsession takes increasingly bizarre and surreal forms, many illustrated on screen in jagged and flowery fashion with frequent dashes of blood and the color red. His friends worry as he becomes increasingly enamoured of the long-dead young Cossette.
Cossette as voiced in the English language version — I watched this via streaming Netflix — is unimpressive with her “little girl” voice which, I suppose, was supposed to be evocative of her deceptively diminutive and little-girlish appearance. I have to believe the original Japanese soundtrack is better.
Visually the animation is impressive for a while but also becomes rather annoying and random with brief disconnected segments offering little continuity. All of this I suppose is intended to reflect the increasingly distracted behavior of the main characters but it also detracts from any real character development. (For me the standard for filmic obsession is Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Hitchcocks’ VERTIGO but it’s unfair to compare the work of a master to an anime series like this.)
Still, it’s an interesting view if you can suspend judgement and go with the flow. Imagery is increasingly wacky as the movie progresses and, yes, we do find ourselves empathizing with the deteriorating mental state of the main characters.
It’s impressive that an animated vehicle has been used for such an undertaking that might have been trite had it been attempted by lesser talents. There are no cute bunnies, power suits, high school uniforms, or explosions here; the paranoia, bizarre imagery, and blood are more than sufficient.
Review copyright (c) 2012 by Dennis D. McDonald.