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If Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli hadn’t indefinitely shuttered its production wing last year, the recent 30th anniversary might have been a sweeter celebration. This week offers at least one happy return, however, in their rapturous penultimate feature, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (StudioCanal, U) – a reminder of the signature artistry we might lose if the halt proves permanent and their far-from-exhausted capacity for creative exploration.
Veteran director Isao Takahata’s farewell film a typically lovely outing from Ghibli, but it’s far from typical in other senses: the whispery lyricism of its folkloric storytelling, as soft and spry as its pastel-sketch animation style, is miles removed from the dense felt-tip fantasy of Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, though no less vivid. Drawn from a 10th-century fairytale about a reluctant princess, »
- Guy Lodge
Academy invitee Eddie Redmayne in 'The Theory of Everything.' Academy invites 322 new members: 'More diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before' The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has offered membership to 322 individuals "who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures." According to the Academy's press release, "those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy's membership in 2015." In case all 322 potential new members say an enthusiastic Yes, that means an injection of new blood representing about 5 percent of the Academy's current membership. In the words of Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (as quoted in the press release), in 2015 "our branches have recognized a more diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before, and we look forward to adding their creativity, ideas and experience to our organization." In recent years, the Academy membership has »
- Anna Robinson
©Renzo Piano Building Workshop/©Studio Pali Fekete architects/©A.M.P.A.S.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this week that the Los Angeles City Council, in a unanimous vote, approved plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Construction will begin this summer, and ceremonial groundbreaking festivities will occur this fall.
“I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum’s development team to ensure that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will create jobs, support tourism, and pay homage to the industry that helped define our identity as the creative capital of the world.”
“We are grateful to our incredible community of supporters who have helped make this museum a reality,” said Dawn Hudson, the Academy’s CEO. “Building this museum has been an Academy »
- Michelle McCue
Strangely dropping a press release on a historic day where the nation's attention is elsewhere, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their annual list of new member invitees this morning. For those who criticize the makeup of the Academy there was some good news and the stark realization the organization still has a long way to go. The Academy has spent the last eight to 10 years attempting to diversify its membership and this year's class mostly reflects that. There are significantly more invitees of Asian and African-American descent, but the male to female disparity is still depressing. Out of the 25 potential new members of the Actor's Branch only seven are women. And, no, there isn't really an acceptable way for the Academy to spin that sad fact. Additionally, It's important to realize the 322 people noted in the release have only been invited to join Hollywood's most exclusive club. »
- Gregory Ellwood
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences continues to push for diversity, sending membership invitations to 322 individuals, including a healthy number of people who can help change the org’s demos.
Among the invitees are David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Felicity Jones, Emma Stone, Rosamund Pike, Bong Joon-ho, Justin Lin and Francois Ozon. The Academy has been reaching out to women, foreign-born artists and people of various races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
Accusations of Academy bigotry surfaced yet again in January when the list of Oscar nominees included Caucasians in all 20 acting categories, and few women or racial minorities among the other categories. Director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo of “Selma” had seemed like strong contenders, giving many people hopes of breakthroughs. After initial anger at the Acad, activists began to shift their protests to industry hiring practices. For example, 323 films were eligible for 2014 awards — which means AMPAS should theoretically »
- Tim Gray
Annecy – Linking two of Europe’s animation leaders, Melusine Production, producer of Annecy out-of-competition player “Extraordinary Tales,” has boarded Nora Twomey’s “The Breadwinner,” from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, which produced Tomm Moore’s Oscar-nommed “Song of the Sea.”
Twomey co-directed with Moore “Brendan and the Secret of the Kells,” also produced by Cartoon Saloon, which, like “Song,” scored an Academy Award nomination.
Confirmed to Variety at Annecy by Melusine’s Stephane Roelants, the deal will see Melusine taking charge of much of the animation and the backgrounds on the story of an Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to become her family’s breadwinner, after her father is imprisoned by the Taliban.
- John Hopewell and Emilio Mayorga
This week it’s the first part of a double feature. It’s the 1988 Studio Ghibli film “Grave of the Fireflies,” directed by Isao Takahata, which many describe as one of the saddest films of all time. So, it’s appropriate that Sketchy, the saddest podcast of all time (sad as in pathetic), discuss this heartwrenching film.
Listen on iTunes!
The post Sketchy Episode 172 – ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ appeared first on Sound On Sight.
- Ryan Clagg
The Tale of Princess Kaguya, 2014.
Directed by Isao Takahata.
A girl is born of the bamboo trees, and she is brought up to be a Princess …
During the Studio Ghibli season at the BFI last year, for the first time, I watched Grave of the Fireflies. Powerful, profound and deeply moving, I was in awe that this was from the same studio that brought us Ponyo and My Neighbour Totoro. Lest we forget, there are two key artists behind Studio Ghibli: the surrealist, playful and obsessed-with-blustery-winds-and-planes Miyazaki, and the sombre, heartfelt vision of Isao Takahata. It is the latter who directs The Tale of Princess Kaguya – and it is one of the finest films of 2014, balancing profound truth with dreamlike fantasy.
Based on a Japanese folk tale, »
- Simon Columb
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Time's inimitable critic, Richard Corliss (1944 - 2015), pictured above. Visit David Hudson's roundup at Keyframe Daily for coverage. In the past week there's been more additions to the Cannes Film Festival lineup, including new movies by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Naomi Kawase and Gaspar Noé.When Manoel de Oliveira died earlier this month, word spread that he had made a film that would be released only upon his death, Memories and Confessions. Now word has come that its premiere screening will be on the 4th of May in Porto.Above: We're on the fence whether we should be excited for this, but the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit certainly has us intrigued.New York's essential film listing site Screen Slate has turned to Kickstarter to help fund its project. Speaking of New York, this May the Museum of the Moving »
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
The Blu-ray edition of Christopher Nolan's sprawling space pic is packed with featurettes about the making of "Interstellar," including a 50-minute special narrated by Matthew McConaughey about the scientific research behind the story.
Benedict Cumberbatch's star turn as Alan Turing doesn't quite elevate this pic above Oscar bait, but it's big and glossy and worth a look.
Reese Witherspoon stars in the big-screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Witherspoon was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, as was Laura Dern, who has an extra-special role as Cheryl's late mom.
TV Worth Watching
"The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber" (Monday on Comedy Central at 10 p.m. »
- Jenni Miller
As the Robotech film moves ahead, we look at the anime's history, knotty rights issues, cultural impact, and earlier failed film attempts.
"In the year 1999, high above Macross island in the South Pacific, a phenomenal event occurred in the skies which altered the cause of human history..."
With a blaze of animated light, a huge alien space craft bursts through Earth's atmosphere and collides with a city, reducing its buildings to atoms in an instant.
That dramatic opening heralded the arrival of Robotech - and American television had never seen anything quite like it. Here was animated show which told a sprawling saga set across multiple epochs, full of alien invaders and exotic transforming robots. Its characters seemed low-key and somehow real; there were brave pilots, nervy new-recruits, romances and love triangles. There was action, but also comedy, tragedy and pathos. It even provided a generous helping of bubblegum pop music. »
“The Prophet” will debut in Los Angeles and New York on its opening weekend and then expand.
The story portrays the unlikely friendship between a young mischievous girl and an imprisoned poet. The film has distilled the 26 poems in Gibran’s 1923 classic into a collection of eight animated films from eight directors.
The film includes the voices of Hayek-Pinault, Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina and Quvenzhane Wallis. Directors include Tomm Moore (“Song of the Sea”), Joan Gratz (“Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase”), Joann Sfar (“The Rabbi’s Cat”), Bill Plympton (“In Your Face”), Paul and Gaetan Brizzi (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”), Michal Socha (“Chick”) and Mohammed Harib (“Freej”).
- Dave McNary
One evening in 1994, the BBC screened a documentary simply called Manga. Presented by Jonathan Ross, it showcased the rising popularity of Japanese animation, largely focusing on the output of Manga Entertainment, whose dubbed VHS releases had made a huge impact on anime fans and caused a certain amount of consternation among the mainstream press.
For British viewers, the anime boom took a long time to arrive. In America, Japanese shows like Kimba The White Lion, Gigantor and Astro Boy were a common sight on television in the 1960s, yet it took until the late 70s and 80s, and a string of European-Japanese co-productions, before anime finally began to find a hold on UK television.
As a youngster at the time, I didn't necessarily know »
With The Wind Rises proving a swansong for Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli’s 79-year-old co-founder Isao Takahata keeps the animation studio’s stock high, amid reports of closure, with what has been rumoured to be his own final film. This adaptation of the 10th-century Japanese folk tale Taketori Monogatari (which has previously inspired such cinematic adventures as Kon Ichikawa’s live-action Princess from the Moon) boasts a sketchier, more impressionistic palette than the bold strokes of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, which made Ghibli a global brand.
It’s a world of charcoal lines and watercoloured hues; you can almost feel the brushstrokes upon fibrous paper as the proudly hand-drawn action unfolds, skittish motion drawing our attention to the old-fashioned artistry of key collaborators Osamu Tanabe and Kazuo Oga. »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Now that lead animator Hayao Miyazaki has apparently retired, his co-founder of the Studio Ghibli animation house, Isao Takahata, might begin to get the international recognition he deserves. The animations Takahata has directed, which include the Second World War drama Grave of the Fireflies and the wistful contemporary urban tale Only Yesterday, have tended to be less fantastical than Miyazaki's – but The Tale of the Princess Kaguya takes the viewer on some wonderful flights of fancy. »
The latest from Studio Ghibli and it's legendary co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), The Tale of The Princess Kaguya already delivered one breathtaking clip of it's beautiful hand drawn animation, and now we have another one which shows just how visually stunning this Oscar nominated animation is. Based on the classic Japanese folk tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, and featuring the vocal talents of Chloe Grace Moretz and Lucy Liu, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya opens in U.k. cinemas tomorrow, Marhc 20th, and in Irish cinemas on March 27th. »
- email@example.com (Tom White)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the latest release from Japan’s best-loved animation studio, Studio Ghibli, has already won critical acclaim on the film festival circuit and was nominated for an Academy Award this year. It’s unlikely to excite kids, however, and I seriously doubt the matinee screenings will be populated by fidgety throngs of birthday-party groups. This is because Studio Ghibli is an odd quantity for much of its audience outside of Japan, where it has a niche but devoted following of mainly adult foreign-film enthusiasts. The film previewed this week at the only independent cinema in London’s West End, the Prince Charles, that caters primarily for obsessive film lovers. Quentin Tarantino loves the place, once saying: “The Prince Charles »
- Josh Strauss
To celebrate the cinema release of Studio Ghibli’s Academy Award nominated new film, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya on 20th March, we are giving you the chance to win exclusive Studio Ghibli merchandise and DVDs!
From Oscar-winning animation house Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, The Wind Rises) and directed by Ghibli co-founder the legendary Isao Takahata (Grave of The Fireflies), comes the spellbinding and visionary tour de force The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. Nominated for an Academy Award (Best Animated Feature), this exquisitely drawn and spellbinding story is based on the classic folk tale ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter’. Studiocanal are releasing both English language and Japanese versions, the dubbed release features an all-star cast with Darren Criss, Lucy Liu and Chloë Grace Moretz (as Princess Kaguya).
For your chance to win, just answer the question below:
Who voices Princess Kaguya in The Tale of Princess Kaguya? »
- Dan Bullock
★★★☆☆ There was much discussion over the past year about the winding down of beloved Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli with its two founding fathers, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, hanging up their pencils. Both found fitting if unspectacular ways to bow out; first Miyazaki with the soaring The Wind Rises (2013) and now Takahata with the evocative fable The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguyahime no monogatari, 2013). A melancholic swansong, it blends the director's prior occupations and provides a perfect canvas for a final visual flourish. Taking watercolours as inspiration, the aesthetic is impressionistic and painterly with a fluidity that imbues the piece with an intrinsic magic.
- CineVue UK
Isao Takahata makes his directorial comeback with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, his first film for Studio Ghibli since 1999's My Neighbours the Yamadas. The man behind the brilliant, emotionally-devastating Grave of the Fireflies may be in his late 70s, but on this evidence he's still able to conjure up a memorable yarn.
Based on an old Japanese folktale, it centres on a kindly wood cutter who stumbles across a tiny girl living in a bamboo shoot. Taken in by the man and his wife, she's named Princess but earns the moniker Little Bamboo from other children in the village due to her ability to magically grow at speed.
When her adopted father finds gold the family uproot to a mansion in the city and a life »
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