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With Hayao Miyazaki announcing his retirement and Studio Ghibli's future being called into question, it’s been a gloomy year for the animation industry. While this may not be the end of the studio, it feels like the end of an era. For nearly 30 years the studio has been turning in one animated classic after another. At least now we can catch a glimpse of magic behind the legendary studio and its two resident masters at work. Mami Sunada's ("Death of a Japanese Salesman") documentary "The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness" provides a rare look at the inner workings of Studio Ghibli. It follows Miyazaki as he completes his final feature, "The Wind Rises." You also follow the studio’s other master director Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”) as he simultaneously works on his own swan song, "The Tale of Princess Kaguya." Here's the official synopsis: Granted »
- Anthony Nicholas
Back in August we speculated on whether Studio Ghibli, the legendary animation studio behind films like Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro, might be closing its doors due to financial difficulties. Now in an interview with the La Times, the studio’s most vaulted director Hayao Miyazaki has announced that Ghibli is in fact shuttering.
“At this point, we’re not making a new film. I think we will not be making any feature films to be shown in theaters. That was not my intention, though. All I did was announce that I would be retiring and not making any more features.” Miyazaki said, deepening the blow by reiterating that he would be retiring as well.
With that news, that officially makes The Wind Rises, released wide at the start of 2014 in the Us, is indeed Miyazaki’s last movie, and that Studio Ghibli’s When »
- Brian Welk
The reverence people have for Studio Ghibli is astounding. This mainly has to do with people worshiping at the altar of Hayao Miyazaki, but with his (supposed) retirement from feature filmmaking, I wonder how reverent those Ghibli fans will remain. For me, I have always admired what the studio does more than actually liked their films. Sure, they have some truly great pieces of work, like Spirited Away, but most of their stuff I find very pretty, without actually connecting with them. However, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is directed by Isao Takahata, the man who made me weep like an infant with Grave of the Fireflies. I wish I could say the same about his latest outing, which is overlong and treads surprisingly familiar territory in not a very interesting way, though beautifully animated. One day a bamboo cutter while, you guessed it, cutting bamboo comes across a »
- Mike Shutt
The Wind Rises (Japan: Kaze tachinu), 2013.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
A profile of Jiro Horikoshi (Anno/Gordon-Levitt), a Japanese engineer who designed fighter planes during World War II.
The swan song of Hayao Miyazaki…say it ain’t so!! Still, Clint Eastwood made a similar remark about retiring after Gran Torino (2008) and has still carried on. So maybe we haven’t seen the last of Miyazaki; it wouldn’t certainly be a huge loss to cinema and animation if it happens to be true. If Miyazaki has finally taken leave on his Ghibli efforts, what a way to go out. The Wind Rises is not the best the studio has produced – just because the man is leaving the business there is no need to get hyperbolic – though it is a spectacular film, »
- Gary Collinson
Directed by Mizuho Nishikubo
In its frequently sorrowful tale of young Japanese siblings struggling through the tail end or immediate aftermath of World War II, anime Giovanni’s Island faces seemingly inevitable comparisons to both Grave of the Fireflies and the Barefoot Gen features. Mizuho Nishikubo’s film, however, has a spirit all of its own, even if you can trace in it bits of those other films’ DNA, as well as notorious British anti-war animation When the Wind Blows, whose art style it resembles more than the likes of Studio Ghibli. It stands apart in offering a look at an aspect of Japanese history rarely explored in any art form to date, that of the Russian occupation of the island of Shikotan after Japan’s defeat in 1945, as seen through the eyes of two Japanese children among the »
- Josh Slater-Williams
Christmas has come early for fans of Studio Ghibli as the first film in 14 years by co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) begins a theatrical run at the Tiff Bell Lightbox today; the subtitled and dubbed versions of The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) will be screened allowing audience members of all ages to enjoy the adaptation of the 10th-century Japanese folktale.
One day in the forest, the simple bamboo cutter Okina finds a baby in the folds of a bamboo shoot, and brings the infant home to his wife Ona. Naming the child Kaguya and raising her as their own, the couple soon discovers that their daughter is truly not of this world: she grows at an unnaturally quick rate, and has soon matured into a beautiful young woman. Discovering a cache of gold and lavish silks in the forest that he takes as a sign of Kaguya’s royal heritage, »
- Trevor Hogg
Magical and melancholy, The Tale of Princess Kaguya comes from the other mad genius of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata, who co-founded the beloved Japanese animation company alongside the great Hayao Miyazaki back in 1985. Somewhat more idiosyncratic than Miyazaki — and with a darker streak — Takahata was responsible for 1988’s war drama Grave of the Fireflies, still probably the most scarring animated film I’ve ever seen, but also possibly the most beautiful. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a gentler work, and at first, it feels slighter, too. Based on an old, popular Japanese legend, it starts off like an odd little fable, but then its expansive sadness sneaks up on you.Hand-drawn, in a style that looks to my untrained eye at times like lightly colored charcoal sketches, Kaguya begins with a bamboo cutter discovering a mysterious, teeny-tiny, elegantly dressed girl inside a glowing bamboo stalk. He takes her »
- Bilge Ebiri
Princess from the Moon: Takahata Bows with Feminist Spin on Fable
Following the news of Hayao Miyazaki’s possible retirement after the release of 2013’s The Wind Rises, Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata unleashes his own swansong with The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Sadly, it was announced that its December release last year was not able to recoup its production budget, leading the famed studio to hint at closing its doors after other recent titles similarly underperformed. The news lends an even stronger taint of melancholy to Takahata’s gently emotional fable that subtly examines class and gender issues with all the painterly finesse of the classic tale it’s based upon.
An old bamboo cutter finds a small princess within a stalk of shining bamboo. Bringing the nymph sized creature home to his wife, it turns into an infant child that displays a rather rapid growth rate. »
- Nicholas Bell
This is a reprint of our review from the 2014 Cannes Directors' Fortnight. Studio Ghibli is at a real crossroads in its history. The legendary Japanese animation studio has become a respected name even in the West, thanks to a string of classics that trump even Pixar, but last year, the legendary Hayao Miyazaki debuted "The Wind Rises," the film he claims will be his final one (and certainly feels like it's putting a period at the end of a career). The better news is that Miyazaki's Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, the sort of George Harrison to Miyazaki's Lennon & McCartney, and director of the astonishing "Grave Of The Fireflies," has returned with "The Tale Of Princess Kaguya," his first film since "My Neighbors The Yamadas" in 1999. Given that he's 78, and not hugely prolific, it's possible that this turns out to be Takahata's final film too, and if that's the case, it's »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Director: Mizuho Nishikubo.
Running Time: 102 minutes.
Synopsis: Although the second world war has come to an end, a small Japanese island finds itself inhabited by Soviet Soldiers who soon begin to claim property and land for themselves.
The world of war is something that Japan has no fear translating into the animated medium. Most will be familiar with Grave Of The Fireflies, one of the most stunning and draining films ever created, and now we have Giovanni’S Island, another war time film that focuses on two young siblings. That’s pretty much where the similarities end though, as Nishikubo brings an ever so slightly more hopeful outlook and rough around the edges classical art styles.
Set on a small island, we see a quiet and humble landscape that is yet to see the introduction of electricity. The war has been »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
"It was all very difficult..." It's not surprising that it is as wonderful to sit down and talk with the people from Studio Ghibli as it is to watch the wonderful movies they make. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to interview Hayao Miyazaki prior to his retirement during a trip over to the Us to promote Ponyo. While up in Toronto at Tiff 2014 this year, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet up with and interview Isao Takahata, the director of the beautiful film The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was released in Japan last year and arrives in Us theaters this fall. He was wonderful to speak with, making my entire trip worth it. As with Miyazaki, the interviewed was conducted with a translator, so it's shorter than usual because it takes extra time to have both questions and answers translated. Takahata-san is an iconic animator »
- Alex Billington
The Audience Award went to Studio Ghibli entry "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," director Isao Takahata's delicately hand-drawn retelling of a classic Japanese folktale now well-voiced in English by Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges and more. New Ghibli films from Miyazaki will be missed, but Takahata, who directed 1988's "Grave of the Fireflies," carries the animation studio's torch with mastery. The "Next Wave" Spotlight Competition prizes were given to "It Follows," David Robert Mitchell's creepy Std horror tale that wowed Cannes Critics' Week in May 2014. Mitchell also picked up the Best Screenplay prize for his deadly serious, artful chiller that will end up topping horror geek's best-of lists at the end of the year. (Interview with David Robert Mitchell here.) Ukrainian first-timer Miroslav Slaboshpitsky was shut out of the Foreign Language Oscar for his grueling "Lord of the Flies"-like »
- Ryan Lattanzio
This visually splendid, hand-drawn folktale retelling features English voice-work from Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges, Daniel Dae Kim, James Marsden, Oliver Platt, John Cho, George Segal, Dean Cain and Darren Criss. While Ghibli films are best seen in their native language, the voicers do a fine job in this story of a girl the size of a thumb who, raised by a bamboo cutter, blossoms into a coveted princess and must choose a suitable husband. "Kaguya" delicately blends animated whimsy with classical storytelling, returning Takahata to the form of "Grave of the Fireflies" (1988) -- though that's a much more melancholy film. GKIDs distributes the film stateside on October 17. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Studio Ghibli has released a new full U.S. trailer for their upcoming animated feature The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The movie is based on the Japanese folk tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which is a fantastic story in which an older couple find a tiny child inside a special bamboo stalk. She grows up to become extremely beautiful, and attracts all kinds of suitors. The animation is absolutely stunning, and it's a style that only Studio Ghibli could get away with doing these days.
The film was directed by Isao Takahata, and it stars the voices of Chloe Grace Moretz, Mary Steenburgen, James Caan, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges, Daniel Dae Kim, James Marsden, Oliver Platt, John Cho, George Segal, and Dean Cain. Here's the synopsis:
- Joey Paur
I'm not really the biggest fan of dubbed films, even animated films dubbed into English never feel right. So, to watch Studio Ghibli's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in English seems as if something will be lost in the translation, not necessarily the meaning and certainly not the story, but the mood and tone can get disrupted. Yes, in the case of Kaguya a cast that includes the voices of Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges, Daniel Dae Kim, James Marsden, Oliver Platt, John Cho, George Segal, Dean Cain and Darren Criss has been assembled so it isn't as if director Isao Takahata's (Grave of the Fireflies) film is getting a second-rate treatment, but it nevertheless seems "wrong" to me. That said, here is the official domestic trailer for the upcoming release of the film that just won the Fantastic Fest Audience Award. »
- Brad Brevet
Hayao Miyazaki's 2002 fantasy film "Spirited Away" is the only Best Animated Feature winner to be produced outside the English-speaking world. In fairness to the voters who still haven't bestowed Sylvain Chomet with an Oscar, there haven't been that many opportunities for outsiders to power through — the Academy only cemented the category for its 2002 ceremony (making Miyazaki's the only traditionally animated film to ever win the award too). So while the Oscars may not reflect the artistic legacy of Studio Ghibli — currently on a "brief pause" as it figures out how to be a money-making operation without recently retired, Walt Disney-like leader — the company arrives to the 2015 race with a major contender: "Tale of Princess Kaguya." Adapted from a 10th-century Japanese folktale by director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata ("Grave of the Fireflies," "My Neighbors the Yamadas"), "Princess Kaguya" is the story of girl discovered in a stalk of bamboo, »
- Matt Patches
It tells the story of a girl found inside a stalk of bamboo, who is taken in by an old bamboo cutter and his wife.
As she grows, Kaguya-hime is forced to decide between five suitors and to learn the truth about her origins.
The Tale Of Princess Kaguya will arrive in Us cinemas on October 17. A UK release date is yet to be announced. »
Despite initial rumors indicating they’d be shutting their doors, Studio Ghibli will hopefully work things out so they can continue to produced works of art in the world of animation. Their second-to-last feature (for the time being) comes from Grave of the Fireflies director Isao Takahata and will be landing in U.S. theaters next month, so we have a new full-length […] »
- Jordan Raup
One of the most impressive things about The Tale of Princess Kaguya is its dual nature as a delicate epic and a powerful slower burn that’s never dull. It’s like watching a feather turn to stone over two hours before being knocked down by it (and those who know Grave of the Fireflies won’t be surprised that Kaguya has that kind of strength). This is a fine followup for Isao Takahata, who brings a half-century of animated storytelling and the tearfully hopeful Fireflies legacy to this ancient folktale. As the cultural ambassador for Japan, it’s fitting that Studio Ghibli is the one sharing “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” — the country’s oldest surviving narrative — on this scale with the rest of the world. The story features an older man who discovers a tiny princess growing out of a bamboo stalk, who he takes home and raises as his own daughter. He »
- Scott Beggs
One of my personal highlights from this year's Toronto International Film Festival was getting to interview director Isao Takahata for his new film The Tale of Princess Kaguya. If you're not familiar with his name, Isao Takahata is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli along with Hayao Miyazaki, and he previously directed Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, and the war-themed Grave of the Fireflies (which I can't recommend enough). In his latest movie, which is based on the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Takahata breaks away from Ghibli's familiar animation style and tells a story that embraces the connection between nature and magic. For more on the film, read Matt's review. The Tale of Princess Kaguya will be released in North America on October 17. During the interview Isao Takahata talked about how he picks his subject matter, how he decided on the look of the film and the style of animation, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
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