Strange dreams, a glowing blue cat, a giant talking frog, a tsunami, a lost bank employee, a schizophrenic accountant, people who are there but not there—I’d say it’s a Haruki Murakami adaptation, all right.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, based on stories by Murakami, is the directorial debut of composer Pierre Földes; it won the Jury Special Mention award at the Annecy Animation Film Festival in France last year, and will open in theaters next month.
The film is based on seven short stories by Murakami: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman,” “Birthday Girl,” and “Dabchick” from the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; “The Wind-Up Bird” and “Tuesday’s Women” from the collection The Elephant Vanishes; and “UFO in Kushiro” and “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” from the collection After the Quake.
If you’re wondering how Földes took a handful of short stories and turned them into a cogent film, here’s the synopsis:
Tokyo, a few days after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Kyoko suddenly leaves her husband after spending five days in a row glued to unfolding earthquake footage on TV. Her helpless husband Komura takes a week’s leave from work and heads north to deliver a box and its unknown contents to two young women. His colleague Katagiri, a simple debt collector by profession and an awkward loner in life, returns home one evening to find a two-metre-tall frog asking for his help to save Tokyo from an imminent earthquake. Through memories, dreams and fantasies, Kyoko, Komura and Katagiri, influenced by their visions of earthquakes—which are manifested as evil willow trees, giant earthworms, secret vows, mysterious boxes and a dark, endless corridor—attempt to rediscover their true selves.
Okay, my magic ears are twitching. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman will be in theaters April 14, but in the meantime, watch the first US trailer here: