Miss Hokusai 2.0 stars

Miss Hokusai movie poster

A scattershot but intriguing account of a year or so in the life of the artistic community in Edo during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. When we meet O-Ei, she is a young woman living with her father Hokusai, a (real-life) great painter who is not a great husband, father, teacher, or human being — in both cases, because he is utterly devoted to his work. O-Ei is also an accomplished artist, but she has yet to give herself over to it — e.g., her images of women are technically excellent but lack a kind of lived-in sensuality. Small wonder: she has a lonely, aging mother to think of, and a blind younger sister to console. Also, there are men in the picture: other artists, whose attitude toward her father is rather more reverent than her own. The art here is rawer and more idiosyncratic than some other anime, and there is a pleasing matter-of-factness about fleshy matters — drinking, sex, sickness — even as the more abstract question of art’s practice and power is under consideration. Just don’t go looking for a grand point beyond that, or even a narrative structure amid the history, and you’ll be fine. Directed by Keiichi Hara. In Japanese with English subtitles. 2015.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader