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We Are Little Zombies

I’m a fundamentally different person for having seen this movie, but I can’t describe exactly how or why


Release date: June 14, 2019
Director: Makoto Nagahisa
Language: Japanese

Who should watch this movie: Fans of Wes Anderson. Folks considering therapy for unresolved childhood trauma.

When should you watch this movie: When you’re alone. When you have time to go for a walk/run to process after the movie.

The sell: Four children stand outside a crematorium. They are all recently and unexpectedly orphaned. Today is their parents’ funerals. They decide to form a rock band. This is the premise of Nagahisa’s debut film, We Are Little Zombies, and holy shit is it a masterpiece. Simon Abrams (yes this is a call-out) on described this movie as a “feel good black comedy” and nothing has ever been more wrong. I would not describe this movie as “feel good,” but rather “feel a bizarre combination of anxiety and euphoria watching four children grapple with unfathomable loss in a world that has forgotten how to feel altogether.” Nagahisa comes from the world of music videos, which is abundantly apparent in his hyper-stylized point of view. Yet nothing is lost to the chaos of smash cuts, animation sequences, and fourth wall breaks. The story is deeply thoughtful, choosing to focus on the grey areas of grief. Grief that sits on top of the already challenging aspects of being a child. Youth provides the canvas on which Nagahisa paints a surrealist landscape of feeling, asking the audience to interrogate their own repressed emotion with brutal honesty. The music, both diegetic and otherwise, is phenomenal. The acting equally so. This entire work is a masterpiece and I dare you to find fault in it, I genuinely don’t think you can.


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