Seventeen-year-old Suzu is chasing away the gloom of losing her mother in virtual reality. In an app called U, anyone can be whoever they want. The girl chooses the identity of freckled singer Belle who soon becomes popular on the network. All is sunshine and rainbows but then a ferocious Dragon disrupts her concert. Suzu is determined to find out who the hate-filled beast is. In this coming-of-age story in the age of social media, director Mamoru Hosoda draws on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, particularly the theme of finding the line between how the world perceives us and our true identity. During its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the film received a 14-minute standing ovation.
The animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong tells the story of a somewhat lonely twelve-year-old seventh grader named Barney, and Ron, his new walking, talking, and completely digital friend who is supposed to be, at least according to the commercials, a robot best friend. However, the lovable robot Ron is not quite right and seems to be broken. Against the backdrop of an age bound by social networks and permeated by digital relationships, the boy and the robot experience an extraordinary and affectionate adventure during which they discover that true friendship is not about perfection.