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Flatpack Film Festival Review: Patema Inverted

27th March 2014

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The Flatpack Film Festival heads off to an animated start with a screening of Japanese anime by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, Patema Inverted, at Birmingham's The Electric Cinema.

The film has already been a hit in South Asia, receiving a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the Asia Specific Screen Awards. Recently, Scotland Loves Anime handed the Audience Award and the Judges Award to the 99-minute fantasy adventure.

Yoshiura is often cited as a pioneer in the anime world and he holds several awards for writing, directing and producing work to prove it.

If you enjoyed his 2010 futuristic film Time of Eve, it’s more than likely that you will also been charmed by this quirky, heart-warming tale.

Patema (Fujii Yukiyo) is an inquisitive teenage girl living within the chasms of an underground world, inhabited people referred to as ‘inverts’ living in a dimension of inversed gravity. She longs to explore ‘the real world’ and befriends a local boy named Age (Nobuhiko Okamoto). After years of wishing, her dreams come to pass and her worst nightmares become reality.

This imaginative film portrays the tribulations of living in a dystopian world and frictions between two conflicting ways of life, drawing inspiration from the political conflicts of today. Through an action-packed narrative and inventive imagery, this film raises ageless questions of morality whilst exploring issues of power, truth and identity.

The story is easy to follow and at times predictable. It is almost certain that you will recognise a hint of other fantasy and action films in this endearing battle between good and evil. You may find yourself grappling with the concept of an upside-down world as the film often bounces between the two dimensions.

Because of this it tends to get confusing, and the compulsion to make sense of it all can often distract from the fast-paced action.

However as a form of compensation, we are offered a double-helping of awe-inspiring landscapes, beautifully illustrated by Japanese illustrators who are celebrated for their innovation in motion art.

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