“Poupelle” closer to the stars

An animated film by Yusuke Hirota, “On the other side of the sky” is an ecological and anti-totalitarian fable, for young and old.

Spat out by long chimneys, black smoke fills a dark and sinister sky, that of a “city without sky” imagined by Akihiro Nishino in a graphic novel, adapted to cinema by Yusuke Hirota. An animated film, “On the Other Side of Heaven” (released on August 17) first transports us to a city of hell, a sad and polluted Chimney City. A universe closed in on itself, a social and industrial heresy, where the inhabitants don’t even have the knowledge of a possible outside world, where it is forbidden to look up (there is nothing to see anyway), and where only a few enlightened people seem to believe that stars would shine in a limpid sky.

However, despite the ambient darkness, children are dressed up and celebrating Halloween; among the games and shouts, a large creature emerges that everyone believes to be disguised, covered with garbage and salvaged objects. A being of bricks and mortar really made of garbage, and rejected by all when they realize it. Except for a little chimney sweep, Lubicchi, who saves him from a garbage truck that would have led him straight to the dump. “What are you?” the child asks; a “monster”, the authorities have decided. No, just a gangly thing, who walks a bit erratically, but is goodness itself. “Poupelle” is the name given to this trashy being, who becomes Lubicchi’s best and only friend.

An explosion of colors

The boy braved his fear of heights to climb the giant chimneys, took care of his mother whose lungs were clogged with the foul atmosphere, and firmly believed in what his father, who had disappeared at sea, had told him. Taken for a fool by all the others, he assured that on the other side of the black sky there is a bright light and sparkling stars. Drawn into a whirlwind of misadventures, Lubicchi and Poupelle (wanted by the evil Inquisitors of the police), will try together to get as close as possible to the stars, to prove to everyone that they do exist, and that his father was right.

In opposition to the greyness and darkness of this very sad city, bright and shimmering colors explode in this film with beautiful musical sequences. A singer, Philippe Katerine, lends his voice, full of tenderness and innocence, to this friendly Poupelle. By its graphic quality and its humanistic content, “On the other side of the sky” joins the classics of Japanese animation. There is certainly a part of naivety and poetry in this ecological and societal fable, but it is also a film about difference, exclusion, denunciation of a totalitarian society. A story for young and old alike, because there is no age limit for dreaming of the stars.

Patrick TARDIT

“On the other side of the sky”, an animated film by Yusuke Hirota (released on August 17).

Believing firmly in his father's stories, Lubicchi will lead Poupelle in search of the stars.
Believing firmly in his father’s stories, Lubicchi will lead Poupelle in search of the stars.