A fertile but unbridled imagination tells a yarn about two wacky elderly sisters, but gets tangled by multiple narrative strands in the hallucinogenic modern DV fairy tale “Wool 100%.” Feature bow by short filmmaker Mai Tominaga is evidence of a rich new talent that will find welcome arms at kiddie and animation fests. However, rambling, often nonsensical story will mainly appeal to adults with right brain dominance.
On one of their daily expeditions, two elderly junk collecting sisters, Ume (Kyoko Kishida) and Kame (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) discover multiple balls of red wool. While the siblings are thrilled by their latest acquisition, the wool also attracts a disturbed young girl (Ayu Kitaura) to their house. The nameless girl appears doomed to repeatedly knit a gnarled sweater until she can do it right. Each unsuccessful attempt leads to deafening screams and a destructive rampage.
Flashbacks reveal a narrative connection to the two sisters being abandoned by their newly pregnant mother when they were children.
Thematically, story may be a metaphor for the trauma of newly acquired sexual knowledge, but like the classic fairy tales this pic resembles, story is ripe for multiple interpretations.
Thesping is stiff, as is helming, which suggests Tominaga, who is predominantly an animator, is unaccustomed to actors and has not yet established a comfortable directorial rhythm. However, a dynamic, stream of consciousness-driven animation sequence that acts as the pic’s five-minute centerpiece reveals Tominaga’s talent at full strength. Rich art direction is wasted by dark, substandard DV lensing, but pic reps a promise of better things to come, if Tominaga can find a steadying hand.