What is your greatest fear? Animator Germán Acuña helps us overcome our phobias in his beautifully-imagined directorial debut, Nahuel y el libro mágico (Nahuel and the Magic Book). The feature follows a protagonist held back in life by an overwhelming fear of the ocean, who faces stormy seas and sorcerous spells in his journey to prove himself worthy to his seafaring father.
Critics are already drawing flattering comparisons to acclaimed anime films, and it’s not hard to see why. In this feature film, we are treated to similarly lush and immersive hand-drawn backgrounds. There are geographical reasons for this parity, according to Acuña. Both Chile and Japan are archipelagos, and are naturally very green. Artistically, both places are equally capable of delivering the painfully beautiful as they are surreal.
But where Japanese mythology has been well-represented in movies and animation, the rich indigenous mythology of Chile’s ‘land of sorcerers’ is still unfamiliar to many international audiences. Having earned a nomination at this year’s Annecy Film Festival, Acuña’s film may be about to change that. Will Nahuel y el libro mágico introduce Chile’s folklore to the world? We spoke to Germán to find out more.Continue reading