One of this year’s animated Oscar contenders could be veteran Mamoru Hosoda
’s dazzling Cannes debut “Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess
”, inspired by the French “Beauty and the Beast
” fairy tale, about rural school kids who take on alter egos in a digital universe, based on their strengths and weaknesses. “Belle
” could mark the filmmaker’s second animated feature Oscar nomination after “Mirai
.” The movie screens October 23 at Hollywood’s Animation Is Film festival before its later Oscar-qualifying GKids release.
Hosoda updates the 18th-century fairy tale that has spawned countless movie adaptations, from Jean Cocteau
’s 1946 black-and-white French classic to the Disney animated musical and its recent live-action remake, with a near-future story that combines “Ready Player One” with “Eighth Grade.” The movie’s naturalistic setting is the filmmaker’s birthplace Kamiichi, a remote western island.
“It’s a very rural place,” Hosoda said. “It’s a