A music-loving mermaid joins a rock band…Toe-tapping songs and a heart-warming tale ensue. Sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster, but this is actually Japanese anime, and it’s about to come to life in Queens.

The Museum of the Moving Image will show “Lu Over the Wall” at 11:30 a.m. on both upcoming weekend days, April 6 and April 7. General admission is $15, but seniors, students, and children (ages three to 17) can attend for $11.

The 2017 hit was created by one of the world’s most respected anime directors, Masaaki Yuasa, who is known for his wild, freeform style and bold visuals. Family-friendly and 117 minutes long, the movie takes place in Hinashi, a sleepy fishing village in the Land of the Rising Sun. Kai is a sulky middle school student who used to live the good life in Tokyo. He was forced to move to Hinashi after his parents divorced, and now he reluctantly stays with his father and grandfather. He wants out.

Kai’s escape is music, and he joins a band, Seiren, with classmates Kunio and Yuho. They pick up a talented mermaid, Lu, whose fins transform into feet when she hears a catchy tune. Plus, her voice has magical powers that compel audiences to dance.

Things start to cook for Seiren, and Kai and Lu become close. As a big summer festival approaches, the band seems destined for fame, fortune, and the coveted one-way ticket out of Hinashi. However, there’s a big problem. Ever since ancient times, locals have believed that mermaids bring disaster. Rumors fly about Lu’s pedigree, leading Kai to some soul-searching as the band ponders protecting the star’s identity or trying to debunk superstitions.

Lu Over the Wall” won the Grand Prize at the Annecy Animation Festival. It was also an official selection of the Sundance and Melbourne film festivals in 2018. Click here to watch a trailer.

With English dubbing, the Saturday version is “Sensory Friendly” with dimmed lights and low volume. The Sunday version is in Japanese with English subtitles. It will have standard lighting and volume.

“Anime” is a blanket term for a diverse Japanese art form involving computer animation. Always hand-drawn, it usually entails colorful graphics, vibrant characters, and story-telling based in fantasy.

First editor’s note: “Lu Over the Wall” kicks off the latest Family Matinee program, which runs until June 30 at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District. The periodic program presents family-friendly movies on most Saturdays and Sundays and on weekdays during Spring Recess. After this weekend, the next Family Matinee screenings are “Singin’ in the Rain” on April 13 and April 14 at noon, and “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” on April 20, 21, 27, and 28 at noon.

Second editor’s note: The Museum of the Moving Image is currently offering free admission to its gallery exhibitions on Friday nights. Two other Queens cultural groups are also offering free Friday programming, as reported in QNS.

Images: Lu Over the Wall


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