Note: This review was written by me both on my blog and in an anime-related forum. So if you see this somewhere else, it's actually me trying to make this film more well-known.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to watch the tv movie Kawa no Hikari. In a nutshell, the story is about rats that live near a river and must find a new home cause the current one is threatened by a construction site....
...if ANYONE is still reading this after that synopsis and is able to deal with watching a show about talking animals in a serious mood, it's a WONDERFUL story. I mean, almost EVERY minute in this movie is relevant to some kind of reflection upon life: what it's like to yearn for something, how "home" is not a physical place but something that is part of you and no matter how good you feel in another place, you can never forget that; how you should rarely judge a book by its cover (interestingly enough, it is done both ways: there are ppl that may seem the same as you on the outside but you cannot put your trust in them); the fact that when you're a parent you're willing to do any stunt or sacrifice to assure your chirldren's well-being, how being different or weak is not a bad thing if you have the right ppl around you; how we should not feel so afraid of death but more willing to actually live; how you should not quit from pursuing your goals, etc etc. It even has some very poetic lines regarding the title (the light of the river); I think a lot of it (the story) works as a metaphor or analogy of many ideas, and even when most of it is pretty simple, or precisely because it doesn't try to feel complex, it works and makes you care as long as you do not have a heart made of stone or require highly realistic stories. With this one, I did some research and it turns out the original author teaches in an University in Tokyo and has a degree in French Literature. IMO I think it shows in the screenplay.
I should clarify that I'm an adult and can be quite skeptical or even cynical regarding some movies; I didn't enjoy some of Miyazaki's works (probably because in a couple of cases he tries too hard to hamfist his love for nature into his stories) and I'm not precisely a huge fan of Disney or fables with morals.
Having said that, I dunno why this beautiful yet apparently simple story did it for me while others didn't. Maybe it was because I felt a connection with Glenn's (a character) personality ( that notion of "knowing that there is more to life than what you're doing but you weren't born with the right mindset to achieve it"), maybe because sometimes I need a story about nice human values and I want a break from all the sci-fi, seinen, shonen or whatever...maybe it's because I like animals...I can't pinpoint just one reason.
But if I can make at least ONE person to give it a try (while knowing that indeed it's aimed at all ages and it doesn't feature big action sequences, moe or gore) and LIKE IT (or GASP, even making a thread about it or recommend it to someone), I would honestly feel happy. In the end, I guess I decided to make such a long post about Kawa no Hikari because I feel that if I don't, no one will.
I don't have kids yet...but if I did, this is one of those movies I would want to see with them (specially to make up for the fact of forcing them to see the gundam movie trilogym, the rebuild of eva movies or many more). I don't want to make it sound like it's the best thing I've ever seen, but I do prefer to overrate it than not mentioning it at all.
Thanks in advance to anyone that manages to read through all of my rambling.read more