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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Koji Yamamura "The Old Crocodile" (Toshi wo totta wani)



I've always felt that a crocodile, basking in the sun, would appreciate a gentle stroke on the muzzle; they like to be hand fed. The Old Crocodile (2005) is a darkly humorous piece that explores the psyche of an ancient crocodile that has lived since the Pharaohs and now is unable to catch its own fish. Therefore he helps himself to a tasty great grandson much to the chagrin of his family who ostracise him after a failed tasting session themselves. The old croc has to move himself away to the ocean where he meets a very friendly, indeed faithful, female octopus and the two go off in search of adventures. Sadly, despite her protestations, the twelve legged girl is unable to count to twelve and won't miss the odd leg or two or three. Strangely the dissolution of the friendship is oddly quite affecting. A more cared for future in his old age awaits however though a change of colour helps. Koji Yamamura is at his masterful best, the English version owing much to the voice of Peter Barakan who has just the right ironic nuances in his voice to do justice to a simply drawn, black and white animation that is a delight throughout. Somehow the movie gets to the heart of a crocodile. I'm sure they don't mean to do bad things.

3 comments:

dellyrio said...

To me, this is a very heart breaking film... I was actually quite puzzled by it for a while. I think it's a very powerful animation by a master of very powerful animations.

dellyrio said...

To me, this is a very heart-breaking film. I was actually quite puzzled by it for a while. I think it's a very powerful animation by a master of very powerful animations.

Ian Lumsden said...

I totally agree, Dellyrio. I took a light touch in my treatment of the old crocodile rhough when I said that it was "quite affecting" I was referring to the crocodile's inability to change instinctive behaviour, thereby destroying the person he loves. I see the heart-breaking quality and wish now I had stressed it. Koji Yamamura is a deeply intelligent animator and his exploration here is of more than just a cartoon crocodile. Thanks once again for your usual perception - exactly what Comments are for.