'Lu Over The Wall,' A Lenfest Kids H2O Film Presentation Showed at Lenfest
BY Rakesh Palisetty, February 27, 2020
On a beautiful Saturday morning in New York on February 22nd, 2020, children along with their parents came to the Lenfest Center for the Arts at Columbia for the Lenfest Kids screening of Lu Over The Wall. Lenfest Kids: H2O features films about water as part of Columbia's Year of Water initiative, exploring the world's oceans as a space of adventure, fantasy, wonder, and mystery.
Children waited impatiently for the film to start. Lu Over The Wall is a japanese animated film directed by Masaaki Yuasi. The story revolves around a gloomy teenager in a small seaside fishing town, Kai and his adventures with Lu, a mermaid. According to town legend, the townspeople and sea creatures coexisted a long time ago but fearing these creatures, the townspeople forced them into hiding. And ever since a cursed shadow hangs over the town.
Kai prefers to be alone making music in his room but when coaxed by two of his classmates to join their band in exchange for a trip to Merfolk Island, his curiosity gets the better of him and he reluctantly agrees. As he and his new bandmates play a song on the island, they are joined by the mysterious Lu who seemingly can’t resist music. Lu is particularly moved—literally and figuratively—by music, which makes her fins transform into legs and she dances and sings to Kai’s tunes.
Kai and Lu soon become friends, each fascinated by the other’s world. In addition to singing and dancing, Lu has other magical powers in her arsenal which allow her to visit Kai in town. She wants to be everyone’s friend but soon has to contend with the complexities of human nature. Kai, on the other hand, is made to come to terms with his relationship with the town and its people.
At its core, the film’s aim is to recapture the mystery and magic of the ocean while at the same time reiterating that the ocean can be as cruel as it is benevolent, if mistreated. The children in the audience revelled in the magic and song and in the fantasy of it all. And perhaps one can learn from them. As Kai sings in the film, he urges the townspeople to find love for the ocean and its creatures which somewhere along the way we seem to have lost.