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An innocent robot—a childlike female whose vulnerability is more ironic than cloying—has a poignant identity crisis before taking sides in the battle between humans and machines, which she was built to fight. After a startling opening sequence featuring perhaps thousands of magically delineated individuals, this animated political-metaphysical satire (2001) gets almost too detailed for its own good. Yet somehow it smoothly blends outrageously diverse visual styles and emotional tones, and because the story compares tension between classes to tension between the emotional and technological aspirations of humanity, it makes sense to diffuse these ideas by taking the impressive visual chaos into the realm of abstraction. Rintaro directed a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on Osamu Tezuka's 1940s comics and Fritz Lang's 1927 movie. In Japanese with subtitles. PG-13, 107 min.

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