Today I watched Mamoru Oshii’s Angel’s Egg (1985)
Angel’s Egg is set in a surreal and vaguely post apocalyptic fantasy and concerns a young girl who carries an egg with her. This world seems mostly abandoned save for war machines that rumble towards unseen conflicts and mobs of fishermen who throw harpoons at the shadows of fish that were. The girl scavenges through an old European looking town for water and food when she meets a strange man who departs one of the roving tanks. This man is dressed in soldier’s fatigues and carries a strange cross shaped weapon with him, his nihilistic musings and blank stare perhaps scars from the distant conflicts.
This film is more imagery and mood than it is a cohesive narrative, a bleak exploration of christian symbolism and apocalyptic angst. Angel’s Egg is a collaborations between Oshii and one of the pre-eminent fantasy artists of the modern era, Yoshitaka Amano. Amano’s fair and elegant imagery contrasts with the dark and dangerous world perfectly to create a mood that is at once both fragile and dangerous. This world echoes with intangible loss and desperate quests to fill and unknowable void.
The deeply philosophical and surreal tone of this movie may make it one of Oshii’s most personal and least understandable works. It is just so original and steeped in such personal symbolism that it is impossible to untangle it from it’s creator. That being said, the themes and imagery here are still very thought provoking and beautiful and frightening in equal measure. While it is certainly a difficult film due to it’s dark emotions and meditative pace, it is also a very rewarding and genuine one. Despite the darkness and angst that this film seems swathed in, there is also a distinct sense of hope and perseverance. Eggs can represent an unknown future filled with boundless possibilities, even when borne into broken nests. 5/5