REVIEW: ‘Pompo: The Cinephile’ Balances the Beauty and Pain of Art

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Pompo the Cinephile - But Why Tho (1)

Films about why we love film aren’t all that rare, and to be honest, they tend to be saying the same thing at this point. But there is something about Pompo: The Cinephile that changes up the love letter to film formula for the better. Directed by Takayuki Hirao and written for the screen by Takayuki Hirao, the film is adapted from the manga of the same name by Takayuki Hirao. Animated by CLAP, Pompo: The Cinephile is finally making its US debut with GKids and Fathom Events this week.

In Pompo: The Cinephile, the titular Pompo is a talented, young, and gutsy producer in “Nyallywood,” the movie-making capital of the world. Known for her B-movies, Pompo is moved by films that move people. But she doesn’t mean drama, no. Her love of B-movies comes from the hard task of using comedy,  action, and genre tropes to cause an emotional reaction from the audience. While Pompo is the film genius with a long filmography, Gene is the film love just trying to make it as an assistant. When he’s given the chance to edit a trailer for Pompo’s next film, the door swings open for him to step into a larger role. Moved by Gene’s eye for editing, Pompo tells him that he will direct her next script: a delicate drama about an aging and tormented creative genius, starring the legendary and Brando-esque actor Martin Braddock, and a young actress Natalie who is seeking her first break.

So yes, Pompo: The Cinephile is about filmmaking. That said, when the production heads towards chaos, Gene hits a wall where the sacrifices he has to make begin to mount. As a new director and his team devote their lives to the pursuit of a “masterpiece,” the film chronicles the love and the heartbreak of it all.

Pompo: The Cinephile‘s beauty doesn’t come from its love of film, or even the ways that we all connect to film at different levels. No, Pompo: The Cinephile is important because in its frantic pacing and bombastic animation, Studio Chido is telling a story about the pain that comes with passion. The ways we harm ourselves to pursue the things we love, even when they give us life. There is a sharp edge to the way that the film dissects film creation. From production, writing, cinematography, editing, and more, Pompo: The Cinephile is about the entire filmmaking process and the way it can consume you.

Film can be a home for people. It can keep them safe when the rest of the world shuns them. It can connect us to stories and worlds we never dreamed of and that is beautiful. But in that beauty also lies an agony that Pompo: The Cinephile captures in its vibrant animation. In its conclusion, the audience is told to seek balance, to know when pleasure and bliss turn to pain, and to know how to manage the two sides of an all-consuming passion. Dreams are strong and propel us, but to reach them, we have to also sacrifice. This film is about that sacrifice more than the beauty we create, and that is a love letter to film that moves beyond the basics.

Packed with a rousing score, stunning animation, and nods to film history, Pompo: The Cinephile is a must-watch for fans of films and creatives alike. A balance between beauty and struggle, I haven’t seen anything as vibrant and as exploratory as this film. It explores how we connect to film, why we love it, and why it can become all too much.

Pompo: The Cinephile is playing in theater nationwide now. 


Pompo: The Cinephile
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Packed with a rousing score, stunning animation, and nods to film history, Pompo: The Cinephile is a must-watch for fans of films and creatives alike. A balance between beauty and struggle, I haven’t seen anything as vibrant and as exploratory as this film. It explores how we connect to film, why we love it, and why it can become all too much.