Belle, the latest feature-length film by Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda, has received a new trailer.
Hosoda, director of 2018’s Oscar-nominated Mirai, has produced Belle under his animation company, Studio Chizu. The fantasy film is set to be a unique take on fairytale Beauty and the Beast, featuring virtual J-pop concerts and perilous adventures in a cyber landscape named “LJ”.
Belle is due for release on July 16 in Japan. The film follows Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student who finds fame online as a virtual avatar named Belle. She finds herself entangled with a mysterious creature in a coming-of-age story, continuing Hosoda’s explorations of youth and technology with a philosophical bent.
The trailer premiered exclusively via Variety today (June 3). Watch the evocative clip below.
“Belle is the movie that I have always wanted to create and I am only able to make this film a reality because of the culmination of my past works,” Hosoda said to Variety. “I explore romance, action and suspense on the one hand, and deeper themes such as life and death on the other. I expect this to be a big entertainment spectacle.”
For the project, Hosoda assembled a team that includes character designer Jin Kim (Frozen, Moana), who made history as the first Korean animator for Disney. Kim worked alongside Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart of Cartoon Saloon, who were responsible for this year’s Oscar-nominated feature Wolfwalkers.
Hosoda’s previous film, Mirai, premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in 2018 before earning worldwide acclaim and awards, including an Annie Award for best independent animated feature. Mirai was also the first non-Studio Ghibli film to receive the bid for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.
Belle marks Studio Chizu’s fourth feature-length project since being established in 2011. Hosoda made his debut in 2000 with Digimon: The Movie before releasing box-office hits The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars in the 2000s.