Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985)
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Audience Reviews for Night on the Galactic Railroad
Night on the Galactic Railroad isn't your traditional family film. It deals with some incredibly deep themes, as well as having a slow meditative pace. We follow a young cat (changed from human in the original book) called Giovanni. Giovanni has no time for himself. His father is away, his mother is sick, and when he isn't at school he has to work. One evening the family's delivery of milk never comes, so Giovanni goes to get it. He rests on top of a hill before being confronted by a train. He gets on and finds his friend Campenella. From there the duo encounter a number of passengers each with a strange story to tell. This film is certainly all about the metaphysical. Each story strengthens the themes of religion and sacrifice. It gets highly emotional at times. The imagery is often surreal but always memorable. The animation is calm in both colours and movement. This film is presented in chapters, which I think may be a better way to digest it. It's something no country but Japan would try, and the ending is so powerful it really does make the journey worth it. Mature and thoughtful, if sometimes a little slow.
This animation, based off of a children's book written by Kenji Miazawa is an extaordinarily deep, and very fetching movie. Pulling in elements of Soren Kirkegaard's philosophies on life, death, the afterlife and alienation in life makes it more interesting to view, not as an animation, but a kind stroll through the mind.
I first recieved the movie as a present, after pining for its intriguing use of... Furries, I fell in love with its touching beauty, slow pace, and the pure blindness that we have when trying to comprehend what, by nature, we aren't supposed to. Giovanni's blindness to what really happened to Campanella, or his refusal to see what happened and where he was, shows us more about ourselves than most people would get. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and sometimes letting go is hard, but once we see the true beauty in death, we can learn to let go, and ultimately enjoy what time we have, not with just our friends, but with ourselves as well.
The story comes off as a bit confusing at first, but the animation is amazing. Giovanni and his friend go on a trip on a train to the stars and there is more to this trip than his friend is willing to say. You see life after death!
Kenji Miyazawa the writer who wrote the novel wrote this in response to his sister's passing and it went on to a classic of Japanese science fiction.
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