After a 5 year hiatus, following 1995´s animated Ghost in the Shell feature, Mamoru Oshii released Avalon, a Japanese-Polish live action film.
Avalon tells the story of Ash, played by Polish actress Małgorzata Foremniak, and her forays into the world of a illegal virtual reality game called, yes, Avalon.
She is one the best players around and soon begins to hear stories of a secret level hidden inside Avalon called Special A.
What happens next is Ash´s quest for acessing the Special A level.
Avalon is Mamoru Oshii at his best. The story is told at a slow, contemplative pace and daily life routine, reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell; the cinematography shot in sepia tones, both in the VR and Real World, blurring the thin line between what is real and what is not; a musical interlude that may provide clues to the overral plot and much more.
Avalon takes its time to develop - expect deep level philosophy discussion between characters that may provide more clues to the plot.
There are many parallels to Ghost in the Shell that i will leave it for a more in depth comparison to another time.
Even tough that there are many similarities between Gits and Avalon that may turn off some people, the former is a solid cyberpunk movie that will surely make an impression, just like Mr Oshii´s other films.
A few screenshots that might come of attention:
Kicking virtual ass
Ash´s Avalon Statistics
Ghost in the Shell styled menu