Belle has had a beautiful start. The eighth feature from Mamoru Hosoda premiered out of competition at Cannes yesterday, reportedly earning a 14-minute standing ovation.

The audience’s enthusiastic reaction is backed up by strong reviews. “Belle has the look of a winner for the teen set,” writes Deborah Young in The Hollywood Reporter. “The visuals are often astounding.”

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich was a little more measured in his praise: “[W]hile [Hosoda’s] most ambitious moonshot to date isn’t quite able to arrange all of its moving parts together along the same orbit, it’s impressive to see how many of them remain moving all the same.”

The Cannes crowd may have appreciated the film, but they also enjoy applauding. Lengthy standing ovations aren’t uncommon at the French festival, where audiences have been known to clap for 22 minutes straight (for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006).

In 2019, Quartz did some research and came up with an unofficial, incomplete ranking of the longest Cannes ovations in history. Belle would come in seventh place, ahead of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Quartz’s 28-film list doesn’t contain a single work of animation. It is reproduced in the tweet below:

Belle tells the story of a teenage girl who joins the vast virtual world of U, where she assumes the identity of a pop star. It is produced by Tokyo-based Studio Chizu. The all-star creative team includes veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim and Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.

The film opens in Japanese theaters today. GKIDS has acquired it for North America and plans to release it theatrically this winter.

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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