The Garden of Words – Closeness is the Absence of Words

The Garden of Words / Kotonoha no Niwa by Makoto ShinkaiConsidering how Voices of a Distant Star is one of my favourite anime films, and how excited I was when I discovered Makoto Shinkai‘s new films (everything following “The Place Promised in Our Early Days” which failed to impress me), it’s surprising I needed this to finally watch The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa), and of course I have a couple other films of his to watch as well.

Makoto Shinkai seems like he had taken a page from German Sociologist Georg Simmel, who spoke of “distance”, such as by secrets. We define closeness by defining distance – a secret shows us we’re close to someone by painting who is far, and only works so long others know that a secret exists. Human relationships is all that Makoto Shinkai’s first two films are about – about people who are far apart, and yet inexorably connected. The more you push them apart, the more their connection comes to the forefront.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers. It’s a 45 minutes-long film, just go and watch it.)

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