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Maru Cannot Readily Go Into The Box: An Analysis

The great Japanese auteur returns to his greatest muse: the cardboard box.

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The film opens, as always, with a black on white title card in both English and Japanese. Simply seeing the word "box" in this film's name was a delight for long-time fans of the famous cat and his life's work. Maru has recently released several artful (the sunny spot, snow) but noticeably box-free films, and many were ready to see him return to the subject that he so obviously and deeply feels most passionate about.

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In the opening seconds, we are introduced to both Maru, our hero-protagonist, and his great love: the box. Maru examines, and then climbs atop the box, asserting dominance and yet his desire is unsatisfied. We know where this is going, but as ever with Maru: the journey is the destination.

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Maru begins his effort. He is resourceful in his aim, but hopelessly enslaved to his love of the box. Anyone watching who's ever loved someone who refused open up to them can relate to this moment.

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Although the film has followed the overall trajectory of Maru's other finest work, this ending still takes the viewer by surprise. Maru leaps towards the camera and, by proxy, the viewer, leaving his box behind.

What does it all mean?

That is up to you.

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