“Making a Beautiful Movie Means Sacrificing Everything”
- Run Time : 90 Mins
- Genres : Comedy, Drama
- Airing Date : June 2021
- Studios : CLAP
Introduction and Story
Gene Fini isn’t extremely athletic, attractive, smart and/or special. However, Gene is gifted when it comes to the world of movies and that is why his dream has always been to make one himself! After becoming an assistant to the world-famous prodigy Joelle Davidovich Pomponette—Pompo for short—Gene has at least entered the world of film and has aspirations to become the next big director. Pompo sees Gene’s potential and out of the blue gives him the means of directing a script she’s been creating. Not only does Gene find his dreams coming to fruition but a young woman named Nathalie Woodward has also been chosen by Pompo as a lead female in her movie, despite not having any previous acting experience! Pompo has a legacy to fulfill of her own as she is the granddaughter of a legendary director. Yet, will her choices for this movie lead to the next masterpiece in Nyallywood or will she always be a B-class producer?
At Anime NYC 2021, GKIDS presented an early screening of Pompo: The Cinéphile and you know we here at Honey’s Anime had to be present for this exciting film screening! Despite studio CLAP never having a big anime movie/series release, we had hopes for this ambitious movie and went in eager to see what they could do. In the end—and this kind of spoils our review—we weren’t disappointed as Pompo: The Cinéphile was a truly great experience. However, if you want to know what we loved—and disliked—about Pompo, then you’ll need to continue reading our full review and see if this is a movie you’ll want to check out for yourself! Thanks to GKIDS and Anime NYC for giving us the means to review Pompo: The Cinéphile!
A Unique Setting and Cast
Despite various anime being set in Hollywood—though in Pompo: The Cinéphile it’s called Nyallywood—we noticed it's quite rare for a movie/series to examine the life of those who actually produce movies. That’s why the cast and setting in Pompo: The Cinéphile is quite unique! This film explores the talent that makes movies and shows how much sweat, blood, and sacrifice goes into creating an award-winning movie!
Gene Fini—the main lead in Pompo: The Cinéphile despite the movie being called Pompo—steals the show as the assistant who then becomes a director as he isn’t your typical anime protagonist. Gene doesn’t check off many boxes for the usual male lead in an anime movie but does have one relatable theme, he’s different from others. Gene is a movie-lover and that is his only real redeeming quality but that same oddity--Gene legit only seems to watch movies and doesn’t have any other hobbies--makes him appealing to those who feel socially awkward. We loved how Pompo: The Cinéphile explored how loving something so much can lead to sacrifices in life but it can also lead to dreams being fulfilled when you put that love into something creative. We have no doubt that many otaku will identify with Gene and see themselves in him.
Great Simple Comedy
Pompo isn’t labeled as a comedy—because it really isn’t comical—but that doesn’t mean we didn’t laugh while watching it. From the repeated gag of Pompo’s grandad messing up Gene’s name to the exaggerated expressions when somethign surprising happened to one of the main characters, Pompo: The Cinéphile had some solid laugh-inducing moments. Plus, the ending line by Gene as the credits roll—this part we won’t spoil—made the entire movie and its run time just that more impactful.
Made for Editors/Future Directors
Pompo: The Cinéphile has a not so secret agenda, to push those with aspirations and dreams to make their movies. Gene, Nathalie, and even Pompo can be seen as people just like us. Each character has their own flaws—Gene and Nathalie lack confidence and Pompo is a bit too eccentric—but their flaws can most certainly be seen in the real world. Thus, Pompo: The Cinéphile tries to drive home that the reality that anything someone wants in life isn’t just easily obtainable but must be fought for through loss, hard work, dedication and, most importantly, drive. That’s what made Pompo sit with us days after watching it, it made us want to go even further in our lives not in fear of failure but in fear of doing nothing and gaining nothing.
Want to hear something a bit ironic? We mentioned earlier—and made it noticeable in our review no doubt—that Pompo isn’t really the central character in this movie. Yes, she does play a large role and acts as a support for Gene but her screen time is almost half that of Gene and Nathalie. Pompo isn’t the only one to suffer this fate as several characters get sidelined to focus on Gene and his struggles/battles as a director/editor.
Mystia—the already semi-successful female actress—and Martin Braddock, the legendary retired actor, ooze with personality and charisma but tend to lack depth. It may be because Gene and Nathalie are the underdogs of Pompo: The Cinéphile but we don’t really learn a lot about Mystia—like what made her want to become an actress or what made her so popular in the first place—and we equally know only a small fragment of why Martin is considered legendary. Not using these few characters to their full extent doesn’t affect the movie but we would have loved to know more about them as they are fun when on screen.
You might want to know who Alan is and we don’t blame you, Alan is the most unused and thrown-in character of Pompo: The Cinéphile. As we learn near the middle point of Pompo, Alan was a school “friend” of Gene and they both went on very different journeys in life. While Gene struggled to be noticed as an assistant, Alan was making headway in a big bank in Nyallywood but then ended up stagnating in his career. One minute he was the new kid with potential and then he was on the verge of getting fired for making several mistakes and showing a lack of drive. Alan is a great character in Pompo: The Cinéphile and is barely used!
Alan’s biggest moment of Pompo: The Cinéphile is when he has a chance encounter with Gene and then later helps the director get his funds for the movie. After pulling some big moves, Alan saves the movie’s backing and becomes a hero in his own right! Yet, Pompo: The Cinéphile made this a literal afterthought. Alan feels like a convenient example of what ego and failure to push yourself do but he could have been introduced considerably earlier in the movie for just a bit more oomph.
More Pompo and Gene!
Hands down, the best dynamic between characters was seen in both Pompo and Gene. These two were hilarious and there are some almost comedic duo gold between the pair but again, Pompo: The Cinéphile doesn’t seem to overstay their union. Several times the movie had our lead female allows Gene to work out his issues alone and while we respect that—and understand why it’s a necessary component of Gene’s growth—it just makes us long for more of them overall. Honestly, the best jokes and gags were seen from their union on screen and that’s why we have mixed emotions not having them together just a tad more.
Pompo: The Cinéphile is a fantastic movie that has heart, strong relatable undertones, and a message for the viewers; to shoot for the stars regardless of failure. The cast and their dialogue is masterful and while Pompo suffers from a lack of character backstory and utilization, we still think it nails the right amount of time these characters needed to be seen. We will just say this fellow readers, Pompo was a movie you absolutely need to watch as soon as you can!
Have you seen Pompo or plan to? Let us know via the comments below! We’d like to also once more thank Anime NYC and GKIDS for presenting us here at Honey’s Anime the opportunity to be part of the early screening of Pompo: The Cinéphile! Be sure to buy tickets when Pompo releases in 2022! Also don’t forget to stay stuck to our movie loving hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more anime reviews and articles!