The most daring film of the year, Anima challenges the balance between political/spiritual convictions and our responsibilities toward people we love. Following Linzi (Eric Wang), an indigenous lumberjack who’s struggling to keep doing his job, we see how the mounting responsibilities of family and self-preservation can make it harder to maintain our values. Director Jinling Cao does an excellent job making the forest a character, as the cinematography makes the forest look cold, ancient, and vast. You see how strong Linzi’s spiritual connection to the forest is, as his internal conflict gets more personal as he grows up. The spirituality in the film is honest because Linzi’s stakes are relatable and grounded, as everything from family to economic disparity forces him to make tough sacrifices throughout the film. Anima is an honest and touching film that will force you to question your convictions well after the viewing experience.
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