Aside from being a major hit at the Japanese box office, Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, Suzume no Tojimari, made history as it will be part of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival main competition.
Being part of the Berlin International Film Festival (or Berlinale) is already a big honor, but what makes it even more historic is that it's the first anime film to be part of the event in over two decades.
The last competing anime film was Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
Anime Films at the Berlinale and Other Film Festivals
The Berlinale is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It’s considered one of the big three film festivals alongside Cannes and Venice.
Given its prestige, being selected for the Berlinale main competition is a huge honor.
Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki was the last anime film to be selected as part of the festival’s main competition. Though it made history back in 2002 as it was the co-recipient of the Golden Bear – the award’s top honor.
Suzume no Tojimari being part of the Berlin Film Festival lineup confirms the film’s quality, as mentioned by the glowing reviews the film received from Japanese critics and fans during its initial cinema run.
This is great news not just for director Makoto Shinkai but also for the anime film industry in general.
After all, some recent anime films have also made waves at the big three film festivals.
For instance, Masaaki Yuasa’s Inu-Oh competed at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.
Meanwhile, Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a 14-minute standing ovation.
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Shinkai’s Suzume Theatrical Release
Suzume was released on November 7, 2022, in Japanese cinemas. It quickly became a big hit, enough that it has now earned over JPY 12.8 billion (around USD 98.2 million).
While other anime films get released internationally soon after their Japanese theatrical run, fans will have to wait a while before the film’s cinema release.
Firstly, Suzume will be screened at the 73rd Berlinale from February 16 to 26, 2023. After this, the film will be released in select Asian countries in March.
For anime fans in the US, Suzume will be released on April 14, 2023, with the release being handled by Crunchyroll and Sony Pictures.
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